Showing posts with label Ned Beatty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ned Beatty. Show all posts

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Nominated for three Academy Awards, 1972’s Deliverance is an influential thriller set along the Chattooga River in Georgia. For men from Atlanta set off into the wilderness to take a canoe trip down a portion of river which is soon to be hundreds of feet below a newly dammed lake. Their trip takes a decidedly and unexpectedly dangerous turn when some of the locals take a disliking to the party. Famous for a distressing scene of rape, the movie is much harder than I expected and must have rattled censors forty years ago. As well as the distress caused by these and other scenes, there is also great beauty to be found in the landscape and it’s captured wonderfully by Director John Boorman.

The movie features what we’d consider today to be an all-star cast with Hollywood heavyweights Jon Voight and Burt Reynolds leading the cast. Ned Beatty makes his screen debut alongside Ronny Cox, also a first time screen actor here. The acting is great throughout and the characters are well defined from the start. From the very first scene the audience is made aware of exactly who is who and what their main traits are. This helps to get the film off to a good start as well as easing the audience in.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

All the President's Men

This 1976 political thriller is based on the book of the same name by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. It stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the two reporters who were responsible for uncovering the facts of the Watergate Scandal which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. Nominated for eight Academy Awards it won three and is often regarded as one of the best political thrillers of all time.

The movie manages to capture the sense of urgency, frustration and fear that must be present inside a major newspaper office as its staff are working on a sensitive story such as the one depicted here. It portrays journalistic workings in what appears to be an accurate way and follows the story from beginning to, not quite the end, but a satisfactorily conclusion. The central partnership is strong and ebbs and flows from distrust to jealousy to solid teamwork and mutual admiration and respect. The film also gets to the heart of the Watergate Scandal, introducing a lot of characters who would otherwise have been lost in history.

Monday, 27 February 2012


I’d been looking forward to Rampart for some time after hearing rumours of an excellent performance from Woody ‘cooler than Sam Jackson in a fridge’ Harrelson but left the cinema feeling a little disappointed. Harrelson stars as Dave Brown, an LAPD Cop who is from a different era and gets embroiled in scandal after scandal. He is considered a dinosaur by colleagues and friends for the way he goes about his police work and has no qualms about placing evidence on suspects, beating them or even killing them. We follow Harrelson as his character spirals ever deeply into trouble with both his family and the police department through a series of ill judged moves.

I felt that the film was quite boring. Despite a fantastic central performance from Woody Harrelson I didn’t really care what happened to him and it was obvious from the outset that there would be no way back for him. The film looks great. I am a big fan of the kind of beauty in urban decay shots found here and in films such as Tyrannosaur, Coriolanus and Lebanon. You get the sense of a never ending battle that the police are facing in both the visuals of the film and the actions of its characters. But as I said, I felt bored and the film seemed much longer than it was.

Woody Harrelson is fantastic as the bent cop, Brown. He is from a different era, the last of the renegade cops who sees nothing wrong is doing anything he has to in order to clean up the streets. His self destructiveness shows no bounds and he goes out of his way to piss off and alienate those closest to him. This is especially so with the female characters such as his partner and ex wives. The supporting cast is all good. Sigourney Weaver and Ice Cube are excellent and could have done with a bit more to do. There is a brief cameo from the always excellent Steve Buscemi but Ben Foster is the standout in the supporting cast as he wonderfully portrays a down and out, homeless Vietnam Veteran. He is quite superb in his few scenes.

Both Harrelson and Foster excell

Overall this is a film with a great cast, equally good acting and there is an interesting story in there somewhere but it just doesn’t seem to take off. Some of the director’s camera work was off-putting and for the most part it was dull. It’s a shame as the story and cast involved should have produced a much better film. While it isn’t terrible, it isn’t particularly good either.