Tag: Tom Hanks

MOVIE REVIEW | Sully (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “One of the best movies of 2016.”

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“Everything is unprecedented until it happens for the first time.”

Heroics are what movies are made for.  Sure, there’s drama and pathos and catharsis and comedy and a million other things that movies are made for.  But big screens, surround sound, movie star charisma and stunning visuals all get the chance to show off and really go for broke when a movie is built around a hero doing something extraordinary.

On the one hand, it was only a matter of time until a movie was made about the real life heroic daring do of pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger.  Almost just as inevitable was the fact that he would be played the ultimate everyman, Tom Hanks. With so much seeming so obvious about this movie, the one thing that had me optimistically unsure of what to expect was its director. How would the stripped back, no nonsense story telling and film making of Clint Eastwood translate the possible inspirational schmaltz of a movie like Sully? (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***B&D SUNDAY FLASHBACK*** Captain Phillips (2013)

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Paul Greengrass certainly has a thing for telling true stories.  He also has a thing for trying to give you both sides of the story and flesh out the bad guys as much as the good.  So much so, it’s always hard to think of them as simply bad guys by the time you get to the end.  Sure, they do bad, often horrendous things, but Greengrass is always sure we get to see at least some of what lead them to those terrible actions.  And that’s certainly the case with Captain Phillips.

It’s 2009, and Captain Richard Philips (Tom Hanks) is leaving on a merchant voyage around the horn of Africa.  The movie then cuts to Muse ‘Skinny’ (Barkhad Abdi), a Somali forced into piracy by some variety of local ass kicker.  With a crew of eager villagers, he hits the water in search of a big pay day.

There is very little setup and Greengrass keeps things moving at a cracking pace.  In no time at all, Hanks and his crew are at sea and spot the two small speed boats loaded up with dudes and machine guns on their tail.  This is a really intense sequence, and impressive too, when you see the ingenious, yet really simple and practical ways, Hanks and his crew fight of the invaders with no weapons.  But this can’t last forever, and eventually, the pirates board Hanks’ ship and take control.

It can’t be easy telling a true sorry, maintaining tension and suspense and keeping an audience’s attention when most of them already know so much of the story.  Or even if they only know one fact, like that Captain Phillips is alive and well today.  So alive and well, he was able to write the book that Captain Phillips the movie is based on.

But even knowing that, it never took the edge off this movie for me for a second.  At this stage, I feel like I’m in the swing of how Greengrass makes his movies.  But there’s something about them that still catches me a little off guars in the best possible way.  His version of shaky camera work, frenetic editing and visceral style makes all the cheap imitations just look like, well, cheap imitations.

We all know Tom Hanks is an amazing actor, but there are times in Captain Phillips when he really knocks it up a notch.  His final scene alone can take the credit for any Oscar attention he gets.  And that comes after two hours of watching him be fantastic.  But somehow, he finds a way to bring it home even stronger in those last few moments.

Captain Phillips is a great combination of story, director and performance to make what is possibly the most intense movie to come out this year.  And the fact that it’s out so soon after Gravity makes that impact even more impressive.

(Original review posted Oct 28, 2013)

Captain Phillips
Directed By – Paul Greengrass
Written By – Billy Ray 

MOVIE REVIEW | ***TOM WEEK*** Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I started this review lamenting the loss of Tom Hanks the funny guy to Tom Hanks the serious actor.  But Joe Versus the Volcano is great example of Hanks delivering both.”

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“Nobody knows anything, Joe. We’ll take this leap, and we’ll see. We’ll jump, and we’ll see. That’s life, right?”

Tom Hanks is great.  Tom Hanks has won a couple of Oscars, been nominated for a couple more and deserves all the praise he gets.  And as much as I like pretty much everything he’s done in the last 20 or so years as a legitimate, A-lister who makes prestige stuff, I also kind of miss the goofball Tom Hanks that we saw all the time before then.  The bloke who made Big, The Money Pit and Turner and Hooch.  The bloke who made weird stuff, like Joe Versus the Volcano.

Working a miserable job for a miserable boss (Dan Hedaya) in a miserable factory famous for being the home of the anal probe, Joe Banks (Hanks) is, well, miserable.  Constantly feeling awful, he goes to the doctor (Robert Stack) for what is clearly just the latest in a long history of visits.  Joe’s usual symptoms are purely psychosomatic, but the doctor does find a brown cloud.  A condition that means Joe has only a few months to live.  Feeling somewhat liberated, Joe quits his job and asks out his cute colleague DeDe (Meg Ryan).  The date doesn’t go so well and Joe’s short moment of freedom is over. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***TOM WEEK*** Philadelphia (1993)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Tom Hanks walked away with the Oscar for Philadelphia, but it’s really Denzel Washington’s movie.”

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters 
“We’re standing here in Philadelphia, the, uh, city of brotherly love, the birthplace of freedom, where the, uh, founding fathers authored the Declaration of Independence, and I don’t recall that glorious document saying anything about all straight men are created equal. I believe it says all men are created equal.”

In my lifetime, the concept of HIV and AIDS has gone from something Eddie Murphy would flippantly joke about people kissing a gay guy and, “going home with AIDS on their lips”, to the cause of pretty substantial panic and discrimination.  From a definite killer, to something that can be somewhat contained with proper care.  And I never really thought about how amazing that evolution of the public consciousness regarding this issue was, until I watched a Philadelphia in a 2016 context.

Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) is a young, hot short attorney, working for the largest corporate law firm in Philadelphia.  Coming off a win against the smaller time Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), Andrew is given a promotion by his firm’s cigar chomping, fat cat senior partner, Charles Wheeler (Jason Robards).  The only problem is, Andrew is in the closet and has recently contracted AIDS.  He’s been able to hide it from his employers until the outward, physical signs become too obvious.  One day, when some files mysteriously go missing, it’s the convenient opportunity his bosses need to sack Andrew, while claiming it has nothing to do with his illness or sexual orientation. (more…)

***2015 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Bridge Of Spies (2015)

Bridge 1

“My father was beaten, my mother was beaten, and this man, my father’s friend, he was beaten. And I watched this man. Every time they hit him, he stood back up again.”

Before I started writing Bored and Dangerous, I was a little skeptical of Steven Spielberg. I thought he was all style, no substance, and too heavy handed when it came to sentiment and melodramatic overstatement. But in the last two and half years, I’ve written about no less than half a dozen Spielberg movies. And with pretty much each one, I have come to appreciate him more and more. Two years ago, Spielberg’s name wouldn’t have made me excited to see a movie. But a Cold War setting would. And Joel and Ethan Coen’s names on the wiring credits would. And Tom Hanks would. So add all of that together, along with my growing respect for Spielberg, and there’s no way I wasn’t going to see Bridge of Spies.


It’s the late 50s, and American paranoia about the threat of communism is at its peak. So when Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) is discovered living in the States, the trial is big news. Forced to defend Abel is lawyer James Donavan (Hanks). He’s the kind of guy who believes in the purity of the law and that every man deserves a fair trial and fair defense. Even when that man is clearly a spy. But the trial is pretty much just a formality, with the jury quick to find him guilty and a judge ready to give Abel the death penalty. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Bridge Of Spies (2015)

Bridge 1

“My father was beaten, my mother was beaten, and this man, my father’s friend, he was beaten. And I watched this man. Every time they hit him, he stood back up again.”

Before I started writing Bored and Dangerous, I was a little skeptical of Steven Spielberg. I thought he was all style, no substance, and too heavy handed when it came to sentiment and melodramatic overstatement. But in the last two and half years, I’ve written about no less than half a dozen Spielberg movies. And with pretty much each one, I have come to appreciate him more and more. Two years ago, Spielberg’s name wouldn’t have made me excited to see a movie. But a Cold War setting would. And Joel and Ethan Coen’s names on the wiring credits would. And Tom Hanks would. So add all of that together, along with my growing respect for Spielberg, and there’s no way I wasn’t going to see Bridge of Spies.


It’s the late 50s, and American paranoia about the threat of communism is at its peak. So when Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) is discovered living in the States, the trial is big news. Forced to defend Abel is lawyer James Donavan (Hanks). He’s the kind of guy who believes in the purity of the law and that every man deserves a fair trial and fair defense. Even when that man is clearly a spy. But the trial is pretty much just a formality, with the jury quick to find him guilty and a judge ready to give Abel the death penalty. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Misery Loves Comedy (2015)

Misery Loves Comedy

“You don’t have to be miserable.  But there has to be something wrong with you.”

I’d say most people who recognise Kevin Pollock, recognise him as an actor.  In the 90s, he had an amazing run.  He was in big budget, big prestige movies like Scorsese’s Casino.  He was in massive money makers like Grumpy Old Men.  And he was in one of the quintessential indie-movie-becomes-blockbuster of the 90s, The Usual Suspects.  But before his acting career took off, during his acting career since, and seemingly with no sign of slowing down, he’s always been a stand up comedian.  Which is why he seems like as a good a person as any to make a documentary examining what makes comedians tick, with Misery Loves Comedy.


Through a series of talking heads, Pollock takes us through a kind of life cycle of his subjects.  Who was the first person they recognised as funny?  When was the first time they realised they were funny?  When did they start using that skill to their advantage?  And eventually, he gets to the title with his final question, do you need to be miserable to be a successful comedian. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI 100*** #71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.

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“Hell, these guys deserve to go home as much as I do. They’ve fought just as hard.”

For the last 15 or so years, pretty much all war movies have been shot and edited in a very specific way.  And not just war movies and big battle scenes, but one on one fights in action movies as well.  The camera doesn’t just watch the action now, it’s in it, being rocked by explosions, knocked around by combatants, with shots edited to keep the viewer a little disorientated.  When done right, you get cool, visceral action like in the Bourne movies.  When done wrong, you get incomprehensible shit, like in The Transformers movies.  Right or wrong, they all stole their style from one man and one movie.  Steven Spielberg and Saving Private Ryan.


In one of the most famous scenes of the last two decades of movie making, Saving Private Ryan opens with the storming of the beach at Normandy, the beginning of the allies final push to take Europe back from Hitler.  I hail of bullets and explosions, we focus on the platoon of Capt. Miller (Tom Hanks).  Against all odds, they survive the invasion and are given their next assignment.  When a War Department Colonel (Bryan Cranston) back in America finds out that there’s one poor mother in Iowa who’s about to get four telegrams on the same day announcing the death of four of her five sons, he decides the fifth boy will be sent home safely. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI 100*** #76. Forrest Gump (1994)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.

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“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.”

Love this movie, hate it, or fall somewhere in the ambivalent middle, there’s no denying that Forrest Gump is one of the most iconic movies of the last quarter century.  When it came out, it was unavoidable.  I was 13 or 14 years old, looking back now, I can’t see a single thing about it that would have made a 13 or 14 year old interested in Forrest Gump.  But I saw it in the cinema, like every single other poison my age and older.  It was the kind of movie quoted by people before they’d ever even seen it.  And the soundtrack, the laziest and most obvious since The Big Chill, was everywhere.  The movie won all the major awards at the time and made a shit tonne of money.


In the years since, I feel like it’s reputation may have dipped a little and its syrupy cheese has become just a bit derided.  I remember liking it, not loving it, and haven’t seen in at least a decade.  So even though it’s a movie I feel pretty familiar with, I was actually intrigued going into Forrest Gump again to see if and how it held up. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Cloud Atlas (2012)

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“From womb to tomb, we are bound to others.”

I’m not a fan of the Wachowski siblings.  That’s not to say I think they’re bad directors or screenwriters.  I actually think they’re pretty great at both.  Even if they’re writing is a little from the George Lucas school of obvious, convenient and clichéd, they at least have fun with it.  I’m not a fan of the Wachowski’s, simply because they don’t make the kinds of movies I’m interested in.


I saw The Matrix on VHS and thought it was an above average action adventure, but never felt like seeing it again.  I saw The Matrix Two on the big screen and thought it was one of the biggest cinematic bed shittings in the history of movies shitting beds.  Until now, that was the extent of my Wachowski exposure.  But absent mindedly flicking through cable channels last night, I stumbled across Cloud Atlas about to start, so I locked in for almost three hours of Wachowski (and Tykwer, more on that later) insanity. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #99. Toy Story (1995)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.
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Toy Story is 20 years old. That blows my mind. I still think of computer animated movies as the new thing. But if Toy Story is two entire decades old, that means there are adults today, who only know a world of computer animated movies, and probably think cell animation is archaic and old fashioned. Toy Story can’t just take credit for that because it was the first, it can take credit for that because it’s an amazing movie that would have been amazing in any format. It just so happens, it got to revolutionise the very concept of animation at the same time.


Woody the Cowboy (Tom Hanks) is the leader of a bunch of toys who come to life whenever their owner, Andy, leaves the room. When kids loaded up with presents start to arrive for Andy’s birthday party, all of his current toys worry about being usurped by whatever new fad that may be under all of that bright wrapping paper. A fear that is justified when Andy opens his new Buzz Lightyear doll. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Turner and Hooch (1989)

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“No barking, now growling, you will not lift your leg to anything in this house. This is not your room. No slobbering, no chewing, you will wear a flea collar. This is not your room. No begging for food, no sniffing of crotches, and you will not drink from my toilet.”

When I wrote about Stakeout, I wrote about it being a certain kind of movie that was huge in the 80s but doesn’t really exist today. It’s an adult movie in that its story has nothing kids would really be interested in, but it never goes too far with sex or violence. And it keeps a focus on fun and silly. When I was watching Turner and Hooch with my 64 year old dad, he sang that movie’s praises for basically the same reasons. I don’t know if that solidifies my theory about these 80s silly movies for adults, or if it means I have lame, old man sensibilities.  Either way, 25 years after everyone else saw it, I watched Turner and Hooch and it was awesome.


Scott Turner (Tom Hanks) is a cop in a small, Californian beach town. He’s a fastidious, bordering on obsessive, cop who meticulously organises every aspect of his life.  In his last week before moving to the big city of Sacramento to tackle real crime, he’s training his replacement David (Reginald ValJohnson, AKA Carl Winslow from Family Matters), teaching him the ins and outs of policing in a small town where everyone knows everyone. Including Amos (John McIntyre), a salty old kook who lives in a decrepit, old boat and constantly bugs the police with complaints and suspicions. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Saving Mr Banks (2013)

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Hollywood movies about Hollywood can seem like a bit of a wank. Nothing more than an industry patting itself on the back. A movie made by Disney studios telling a story of their founder and the making of one of their most iconic movies? That should make it even more of a back slapping wankfest. Never the less, I was sucked in by the trailers and the cast. But it all worked out OK, because Saving Mr Banks is exactly the kind of back slapped wankery I was hoping for.

Cutting between the young girl growing up in small town Australia in the early 20th century, and the middle aged adult in 60s London and Los Angeles, Saving Mr Banks is the story of PL Travers (Emma Thompson), creator of Mary Poppins. As a child, she has to watch a father she idolises disappear into a bottle. As an adult, she has to watch Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) rip apart her creation to make what will become one of the most beloved movies of all time.

While working with Disney, Travers also butts heads with composers the Sherman brothers (Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak), screenwriter Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) and salt of the earth limo driver, Ralph (Paul Giamatti). Of course all of her objections to their tinkering with her source novels are less about her hatred of cartoons and Disney’s artificial world of wonder, and more about the guilt she feels over her father’s death when she was a child.

The story’s great, the direction is tight and the 60s era looks amazing, but it’s the performances that make Saving Mr Banks so immensely watchable. Are there any more likeable actors than Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson? Even at his smarmiest and most ingenuine, Hanks makes Disney charismatic and impossible not to like. Even at her most shrill, stubborn and deliberately obtuse, Thompson makes sure we understand what made Travers this way and that we know there’s goodness underneath.

BJ Novak, probably most well known as the douchey Ryan on the American version of The Office, shows he can hold his own when it comes to dramatic acting. Giamatti takes a total cliché and turns it into a real character. And if there’s anyone in the running to take the mantle of most likeable everyman from Tank Hanks in years to come, it’s Jason Schwartzman.

Saving Mr Banks has copped a bit of criticism for the rose coloured glasses view it has of Walt Disney, and the liberties it takes with Travers’ reaction to and opinion of Mary Poppins the movie. I’m sure Walt wasn’t nearly as nice as the movie makes him seem. Or as Meryl Streep so eloquently put it recently, “the real-life Walt Disney was an anti-Semitic, woman-dismissing shit”. And I believe the claims that Travers hated the movie his studio made. But when a movie is as entertaining, enjoyable and heart warming (possibly the first time I’ve ever used that phrase without sarcasm) as Saving Mr Banks, I don’t care about the odd massaging of the truth here and there.

Sure, by claiming to be a true story, the film makers have a responsibility to stay within a certain distance of the truth. But more importantly, they have a responsibility to make an entertaining, compelling movie. To think any ‘true story’ is the absolute truth is a little naive.

And while I can easily turn a blind eye to those concerns, I think it was inevitable that, as an Australian, I’d have an issue with the accents in the flash back sequences. Farrell’s is a little all over the shop, but that’s fine, he’s supposed to have come to Australia via England and Ireland, and I could hear little bits of all three dialects. But Ruth Wilson as Travers’ mother makes me wonder if people not from this side of the world even realise there’s a difference between Australia and New Zealand. She only gets half a dozen lines of dialogue, but all of them sound like a half assed, cartoonish hybrid of the most obvious Aussie and Kiwi affectations.

The biggest surprise for me in Saving Mr Banks was the location of PL Travers’ tumultuous early years. Allora, her busted ass, middle of nowhere childhood town, is only half an hour from Toowooomba, the slightly bigger busted ass, middle of nowhere town I grew up in, and I had no idea she had once lived there. For a region that’s biggest claims to fame are Olympic runner Cathy Freeman and a handful of Rugby League players, I can’t believe the Travers connection isn’t exploited to the point that her origins would be common knowledge ‘round them parts.

You’ll see every moment of character and plot development coming a mile away. The plot is equal parts schmaltz, cheese and over sentimentality. The performances are broad and you can clearly see the strings being pulled on every emotion the movie wants the audience to feel at every moment. But all of that is OK. When a movie does all of that, but does it deliberately and expertly, it’s just as impressive, entertaining and effective as the twistiest mind bender, the subtlest art house darling and the grittiest, heart breakingest drama. And Saving Mr Banks is the most deliberately and expertly made, oversentimental, schmaltzy cheese I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Saving Mr Banks
Directed By – John Lee Hancock
Written By – Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith

MOVIE REVIEW | Captain Phillips (2013)

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Paul Greengrass certainly has a thing for telling true stories.  He also has a thing for trying to give you both sides of the story and flesh out the bad guys as much as the good.  So much so, it’s always hard to think of them as simply bad guys by the time you get to the end.  Sure, they do bad, often horrendous things, but Greengrass is always sure we get to see at least some of what lead them to those terrible actions.  And that’s certainly the case with Captain Phillips.

It’s 2009, and Captain Richard Philips (Tom Hanks) is leaving on a merchant voyage around the horn of Africa.  The movie then cuts to Muse ‘Skinny’ (Barkhad Abdi), a Somali forced into piracy by some variety of local ass kicker.  With a crew of eager villagers, he hits the water in search of a big pay day.

There is very little setup and Greengrass keeps things moving at a cracking pace.  In no time at all, Hanks and his crew are at sea and spot the two small speed boats loaded up with dudes and machine guns on their tail.  This is a really intense sequence, and impressive too, when you see the ingenious, yet really simple and practical ways, Hanks and his crew fight of the invaders with no weapons.  But this can’t last forever, and eventually, the pirates board Hanks’ ship and take control.

It can’t be easy telling a true sorry, maintaining tension and suspense and keeping an audience’s attention when most of them already know so much of the story.  Or even if they only know one fact, like that Captain Phillips is alive and well today.  So alive and well, he was able to write the book that Captain Phillips the movie is based on.

But even knowing that, it never took the edge off this movie for me for a second.  At this stage, I feel like I’m in the swing of how Greengrass makes his movies.  But there’s something about them that still catches me a little off guars in the best possible way.  His version of shaky camera work, frenetic editing and visceral style makes all the cheap imitations just look like, well, cheap imitations.

We all know Tom Hanks is an amazing actor, but there are times in Captain Phillips when he really knocks it up a notch.  His final scene alone can take the credit for any Oscar attention he gets.  And that comes after two hours of watching him be fantastic.  But somehow, he finds a way to bring it home even stronger in those last few moments.

Captain Phillips is a great combination of story, director and performance to make what is possibly the most intense movie to come out this year.  And the fact that it’s out so soon after Gravity makes that impact even more impressive.

Captain Phillips
Directed By – Paul Greengrass
Written By – Billy Ray