Tag: Warren Beatty

MOVIE REVIEW | Reds (1981)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “Snippets of real life people sharing their real life memories made me care more about the characters and the story more than anything between Beatty and Keaton.”

Reds 1
“Jack dreams that he can hustle the American working man, who’s one dream is that he could be rich enough not to work, into a revolution led by his party.”

In 1979, Warren Beatty was personally nominated for two Oscars for his work on Heaven Can Wait.  That’s nothing short of amazing.  What’s even more amazing, is that he backed up and did it again just a couple of years later.  But while Heaven Can Wait was well made fluff, the following year’s movie to get Beatty all of that Oscar attention was nothing less than an epic.  A passion project he’d been trying to get off the ground for almost 20 years.  The three hour biopic, Reds.

It’s 1915, and radical journalist John Reed (Beatty) is giving a lecture based on his radical ideas.  A lecture attended by rich and married socialite, Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton).  Blown away by his ideas and realising how wasteful her life has been, Louise throws it all away to be with Reed.  Once together, Louise starts to discover her own love of writing.  Together, they get deeper and deeper in politics and activism.  They also become close with playwright Eugene O’Neill (Jack Nicholson).   Close enough for Louise to have an affair with Jack.  But John convinces her that their love is too strong to be harmed by the odd infidelity, which is handy, because he’s been rooting around too. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Heaven Can Wait (1978)

Heaven can Wait Quad
“The likelihood of one individual being right increases in direct proportion to the intensity with which others are trying to prove him wrong.”

I think I’ve said here before that the 70s might be the greatest decade in the history of film making.  The then new batch of directors like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and William Friedkin were given crazy amounts of freedom and money.  And that resulted in blockbuster prestige like The Godfather, gritty groundbreakers like Taxi Driver and glorious, ambitious flops, like Sorcerer.  But the 70s wasn’t just about serious darkness.  The 70s also knew how to do frivolous and silly and light as well.  It did that with movies like Heaven Can Wait.

After a serious knee injury, Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty) has worked his ass off to recover and regain his spot as the starting quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams.  On a morning bike ride, he is hit by a car and killed.  Only, once in heaven, he learns he wasn’t actually killed in the accident.  It turns out, an over eager angel (Buck Henry) took Joe’s soul before the accident, which he believed was an inevitable killer.  But Joe should have lived for another decade or four.  The angel’s superior (James Mason as Mr Jordan) comes up with a solution, they’ll just put Joe back in his old body.  But it turns out, Joe’s earthly remains have already been cremated. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI WEEKEND*** #42. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Bonnie and Clyde

“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.

“You made me somebody they’re gonna remember.”

A story about a legend, that became a legend itself.  When Warren Beatty decided to produce a movie about notorious bank robbing couple Bonnie and Clyde, I’m sure he set out to make the best movie he could.  But I’m not sure even he had an inkling that he’d be creating his own legend.  With Bonnie and Clyde, Beatty and director Arthur Penn took a quintessentially American true life story, they took film making influences from the French New Wave, and they added their own visceral touch to change American cinema forever.

One day, Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) looks out of her bedroom to see the handsome young Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) trying to steal her mother’s car.  Instead of calling the police, Bonnie is immediately infatuated by this exciting guy passing through her tiny Texas town.  To show off for Bonnie, Clyde robs a bank and she’s more than happy to jump in the getaway car with him.  Soon, they’re on a spree, knocking over banks all across Texas, with the help of an accomplice they pick up along the way, CW Moss (Michael J Pollard). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK*** Ishtar (1987)

How did Ishtar make so little money?  How did Ishtar win a Razzie?  How is Ishtar not more famous?  ‘Coz I’ll tell you this much, Ishtar is pretty great.  I didn’t even know it was a massive flop, so at least its reputation has improved enough over the years that I didn’t know about it for bad reasons.  I just didn’t really know about it all.

Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty play Chuck and Lyle respectively, two struggling songwriters and reluctant performers who are terrible at writing songs and only a little bit better at performing.  The movie’s opening scene of the two trying to write a song together is hilarious.  The amazingly bad lyrics that they more than once pronounce to better than anything Simon and Garfunkle ever wrote, only get funnier the more you hear them.  The most repeated being, “Telling the truth can be dangerous business.  Honest and popular don’t go hand in hand.  If you admit that you can play the accordion, no one’ll hire you in a rock ‘n’ roll band”.  Watching Hoffman and Beatty sing these words with a look of total seriousness and straight faced sincerity really is evidence of just how good they are as actors.

A flash back shows how the two met and how they’re dedication to song writing sees them both dumped by their girlfriends only a few months later.  Single and desperate, they accept a residency singing to Americans in a Moroccan hotel lobby.  Almost as soon as they land, they’re mixed up in plan to overthrow the government.  A mysterious woman convinces Hoffman to give her his passport, Charles Grodin appears in all his awesome deadpan Grodininess as a CIA operative and the mysterious woman reappears every now and again to drag Hoffman and Beatty deeper into her world of espionage.

Instead of making them totally clueless to their predicament, Elaine May’s screenplay makes them fully aware of it almost immediately, but also fully ignorant of the real consequences.  It’s the same kind of approach that made Matt Damon so funny in The Informant and the technique works just as well in Ishtar.  Hoffman and Beatty see no problem with openly talking about the few facts they know in front of, and too anyone.   The idea of them arguing about petty, everyday rivalries while world changing events happen around, or due to, them is nothing new, but they both know how to really make it work.

I’m glad I didn’t know it was a flop before I watched it.  I’m glad I dint even know it was a comedy.  I’ve seen Hoffman do some comedic stuff as he’s gotten older, and of course he was in Tootise, I just never expected this sort of broad comedy from him.  Especially co-starring with Warren Beatty, who I think the only time I can remember him being funny or even showing a sense of humour was in an episode of The Larry Sanders Show.  Seeing Hoffman and Beatty both deliver these really funny, goofball performances was such a great surprise that I think it made a solidly funny movie an outright hilarious one.

Budget $55million / U.S Box Office $14.3million

Razzies Won:
Worst Director – Elaine May

Directed By – Elaine May
Written By – Elaine May

Instead of Ishtar, watch Ishtar.  This move really is underappreciated.  Give it a look.