Anand’s Second Cap For The Play To The Whistle Blogathon


Anand from For The Love Of Movies sent in two reviews for this blogathon. Here is the second. Thank you again for your contributions Anand.

Hoop Dreams


Hoop Dreams is one of the great cinematic experiences of my lifetime. Its length gives a good sense of the passing time and lets us feel an intimacy towards the hopes and aspirations of its characters. Although a documentary, Hoop Reams has more of a cinematic appeal because of the intrigue factor missing in most of the documentaries.

The tale is of two African-Americans William Gates and Arthur Agee who aspire to become NBA champions. As the tale progresses, the two tales oscillate between being poles apart and morphing into one another. This is a classic underdog story which hasn’t lost its appeal since it was released in 1994. It may be because of the gritty realism in Steve James’ storytelling. He doesn’t shoot with any preconceived ideas, as if to project it as an emotional drama or underdog story, he just lets wheels of fate work its motions and captures it unadulterated. Hoop Dreams is more of two characters realizing how easy it is to dream and how distant the dreams actually are.

The underlying theme also explores the American education system and its flaws and how its structure forces poverty-ridden kids to continue to live in the rut and monotony of life. The coaches and relatives win our hearts with their pragmatic testimonies, where they express their insecurities about the dreams of William and Arthur, yet never let these insecurities transpire before them.

Both William and Arthur never became NBA champions. William became a pastor while Arthur started his own clothing line. The movie, therefore misses the third act, where the character finally tastes sweet success. And good for the viewers too, for it gives a message that most sports movies seem to skip out on, that just because someone doesn’t make it to the top, it doesn’t give us an excuse to not remember them. It is broken dreams and aspirations that make a sport rather than the success stories.

Darren’s Entry For The Play To The Whistle Blogathon


Darren of Movie Reviews 101 is yet another critic extraordinaire to take part in this little blogathon. It’s been great having you onboard Darren, thanks for taking part!

The Fan

Director: Tony Scott
Writer: Phoef Sutton (Screenplay) Peter Abrahams (Book)
Starring: Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin, John Leguizamo, Benicio Del Toro, Patti D’Arbanville

Plot: An all star baseball player becomes the unhealthy focus of a down on his luck salesman.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Enjoyable Thriller

Story: The Fan starts as baseball MVP Bobby Rayburn (Snipes) joins to San Francisco Giants on a lucrative contract to be the highest paid player in the league. We also meet diehard baseball fan Gil Renard (De Niro) who is over the moon with the latest signing believing his team could go all the way this year but is on his last legs in his job as a salesman.
When Gil’s life starts crashing around him, he loses his job, gets a restraining order from his kid and even his beloved team isn’t performing he starts to reach into dark places. On the field, Bobby isn’t reaching to levels of expectation with Primo (Del Toro) outshining him in the games, with this we see how both men are not having the best time in their lives.
When Gil becomes obsessed with trying to help Bobby find his form, things take a dark turn with potentially deadly consequences.

Thoughts on The Fan

Characters/Performance – Gil is a true extreme diehard sports fan, he makes sport, in this case baseball the most important part of his life. He has been struggling with his job and family life which has pushed him over the edge. Bobby is the typical arrogant overpaid sports star who believes he can walk into any team and become the star attraction, when things don’t go his way, he struggles with the fan backlash when he hits a slump.
Performance wise, Robert De Niro is fantastic in this role with the final third of the film showing all of his skills on the psychotic levels. Wesley Snipes also brings the cocky sports persona from White Men Can’t Jump to the next level with his performance. The rest of the cast are all great, with always reliable performances from John Leguizamo and Benicio Del Toro
Story – We all know how certain fans can go to the extremes when it comes to supporting their team, we all know how the star player can sometimes find themselves getting the fans turn on them. So what happens when a fan goes too far, what happens when a star breaks his slump for his own change rather than because of the fan? Well this shows us just what could happen and in a very stylish way.
Action/Sports – The action is mostly based on the suspense of the film with the sports drama side coming from how the extreme fans can act.
Settings – San Francisco is the most part for the setting which shows us how difficult it could be to get by, the difference between sports players and fans as well as the amount of people an average person could blend into.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the most interesting twists on sports drama, seeing the extremes we could see a fan go to for a player and a team. This does start slightly slow but I do feel that helps build the characters for the final third of the film.

Overall: Great sports drama that has the intensity needed for the story.
Rating

Tiffany’s Entry For The Play To The Whistle Blogathon


This review comes to you from Tiffany at the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Thank you Tiffany for getting involved – it was good to read about your film and to have you take part.

Angels In The Outfield


Many films are centered around sports. Others are centered around religious, supernatural elements such as angels. However, have you ever heard of a movie about sports and angels? There is such a film, and it is Angels in the Outfield from 1951 with Paul Douglas, Janet Leigh, and Donna Corcoran. I will review Angels in the Outfield in terms of the sports involved, the supernatural elements, and Guffy McGovern’s transformation.
As the name implies, this film is centered around baseball; it is a story about the Pittsburgh Pirates and their manager, Guffy McGovern. The Pirates are in a slump, and their losing streak has lasted for months. A cute reporteress named Jennifer Paige is assigned to write an article about the Pirates. She may not know anything about baseball, but she does know about proper behavior and comeuppance, so she is certain that the Pirates are losing because of their disagreeable manager’s behavior. There is a lot of interesting footage from actual baseball games which would be interesting to sports fans. The Pirates start in seventh place in the National League, and they soon move to eighth, the lowest possible position. However, after Guffy begins to reform his behavior with a little angelic intervention, the team begins to rapidly improve. Soon they are in third place with hopes for winning the pennant. After being hit in the head with a ball, Guffy dizzily reveals his conversations with angels. Further evidence leads to a trial regarding his sanity relating to talking with heavenly beings. This trial comes right before the final game that will determine the pennant, but the kind old judge says that Guffy is sane. However, because he started fighting with his reporter nemesis in the courtroom, Guffy is on his own. The final game is going shakily without heavenly intervention, and the pitcher is Guffy’s tired old friend, Saul Hellman, a man who was a great player years ago but now is wavering under the strain. Guffy’s angel told him that next year Saul would no longer be playing ball on earth, so he decided to give Hellman one last chance to be a star. Even though all the fickle fans are yelling for Hellman to be taken out, Guffy gives him a final chance, and his confidence in him makes him succeed. They win the game and the pennant.
The name also tells us that angels are involved in this movie; everything changes for the Pirates when Guffy becomes acquainted with an angel. One night, while trying to find his good luck piece on the dark field after a game, Guffy is cursing because he can’t find his missing token. A voice tells him to shut up; at first, Guffy is sure someone is playing a joke on him over the loud speaker. It takes a clap of thunder and a bolt of lightning bursting the calm night for him to realize that the voice is really an angel’s. This angel tells him to stop swearing, fighting, and bullying. If he obeys, the angels who play baseball will help him win some games. The very fanciful notion of angels in this film is the following: someone has been praying on Guffy McGovern’s behalf, so Gabriel, the archangel, has dispatched a personal angel to reform him and pull the Pirates out of their slump. This particular angel, who sits at Gabriel’s right hand, is a member of an angelic baseball team called the Heavenly Choir. This team is comprised of deceased baseball players who are receiving their reward in heaven, where they still play baseball and occasionally assist their mortal brothers in the game. The idea is that they stand behind the Pirates when they need help and assist them, wearing long white robes which are sort of like uniforms and bear the initials HC for Heavenly Choir; I understand they are not encumbered by their wings. Mind you, no angel is ever seen on the screen. The information comes from Guffy’s conversations with his unseen angel and a little girl’s description of them. You see, little Bridget White, a Catholic orphan with a lot of faith and a great fondness for Guffy and the Pirates, is the only person who can see the angels. Whenever they start helping the Pirates during a ballgame, she sees them very clearly.

It seems that nothing less than a miracle could transform Guffy McGovern from an irreverent, foul-mouthed bully into a kind man, but a child’s prayers, a woman’s love, and an angel’s intervention manage to reform him. Guffy is ruthless to his players, rude to reporters, and insulting to the umpire. His speech during and after games is often very blue, but this film uses a brilliant tactic to imply swearing without allowing one forbidden word to be said. Paul Douglas yells and talks, but several recordings of his voice are played at the same time, so his words sound like nonsense. I don’t know whether the idea came from Clarence Brown, the director, or Joseph Breen, the head of the Production Code Administration, but the Code administrator must have approved of this delicate technique. Guffy is thrown out of almost every game for his fighting with the umpire. After an angel warns him to stop fighting and swearing, he struggles, so the angel suggests that he learn Shakespeare to diversify his vocabulary. The whole team is stunned and nervous because of the coach’s change; he is kind, courteous, even-tempered, and well-versed in the language of the Immortal Bard.  When Bridget White sees the celestial beings with whom he has been conversing, Guffy pays the sweet little orphan a visit; at the orphanage he encounters Jennifer Paige again, since she too is curious about the child. Jennifer writes an article about the girl’s supposed angel siting, but she soon realizes that it causes a lot of trouble. She brings Bridget to another baseball game, hoping that she won’t see angels when she sits out of the sun, but she sees them again. As Bridget recovers from a stomach ache caused by two many hotdogs and Eskimo pies, Guffy and Jenny visit her. Soon, the three are fast friends. For the first time in years, Guffy realizes that there is more to life than baseball. He realizes that a man can get a lot of joy and satisfaction from the affection and care of a young woman and little girl. He begins to make plans for adopting Bridget, but he will need to marry Jenny to give her a happy, normal home. At the end of the film, he has won the pennant, but more than that, he has won the love of a future wife and daughter.
Having reviewed Angels in the Outfield in terms of the sports involved, the supernatural elements, and Guffy’s transformation, we see that it is a heartwarming story that mingles America’s favorite pastime with a whimsical outlook on heaven and its angels. There is a lot of interesting footage of baseball games which will please sports fans but also be entertaining to people like me who don’t like sports. Although it presents a very fanciful view of angels, this movie has a charming if not realistic depiction of heaven and the way it helps humans. The experience with the angels makes Guffy realize that clean speech, peace-making, and respect and kindness for other people make life fulfilling and rich, since a man needs more than baseball in his life. Watch this movie soon to see how MGM charmingly mixed baseball and angels in 1951.

We’re now in extra time!


Hi everyone!

Just a quick note to any of you who were interested in taking part in the Play To The Whistle Blogathon but maybe missed the deadline on Friday – you still have a few days send in whatever you need to.

If you still want to be part of the blogathon, please send in your sports films reviews this week ready for the big event to kick off next weekend. Just remember all entries need to be sent to me (filmandtv101withkiracomerford@outlook.com) or Josh from Reffing Movies (themoviereferee@gmail.com).

I’m looking forward to reading any of your last minute reviews!

Final call for entries!


Hello everybody!

Friday, May 26th, is fast approaching, and this means one thing – all your reviews for the Play To The Whistle Blogathon hosted by myself and Josh from Reffing Movies will be due in. I’ve had a number of entries sent in already, but I know there were plenty more of you interested in this event so I’m expecting a lot more to come my way by the end of the week. 

As I’ve said in the numerous posts before this, any sports film goes. Just write up your review and send it over, or if you’ve already posted the review on your own blog, send a link to the post our way for a bit of copy/pasting to take place. All emails can come to me (filmandtv101withkiracomerford@outlook.com) or Josh (themoviereferee@gmail.com).

For the final time, I will say that I am looking forward to having as many of you involved as possible! Even if this is the first you’ve heard of the blogathon, there is still time for you to take part. It would be really great if we could make this a success together, so don’t hold back guys – pick a favourite sports movie and share it with the world.

Opinion Battles Round 5 Favourite Video Game Adaptation

Movie Reviews 101

Opinion Battles Round 5new-logo

Favourite Video Game Adaptation

Over the past 25 odd years videos games have become a new stream of entertainment, so naturally Hollywood has decided to jump on the bandwagon and turn these lengthy stories into one of films, a lot get highly criticised but for the fans of film that never played the games we get certain stories that work on film. With the final chapter of the Resident Evil franchise coming to the cinema it is now time for us to pick our favourite video game adaptations.

If you want to take part in the next round of Opinion Battles we will be picking our Favourite Film from 1987, email your choices to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.ukby 19h March 2017.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Silent Hillsilent

When Silent Hill first hit the cinema I want to see the film, I never played the game as I…

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My verdict on The Night Of 


A night of partying with an unknown female leaves a young college student in jail with even himself unsure of what exactly went on.Naz Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a university student living in New York, born to hard working Pakistani parents. One night he borrows his father’s taxi-cab to get to a party. Plans change when he unintentionally picks up a young woman in his cab and takes her home, where he is then invited in. After a series of drinks and other things, Naz ends up sleeping with the mystery woman. Hours later, he wakes up, disorientated, in her kitchen, and when he goes up to check on his date, he makes a grisly discovery, and he doesn’t know what happened or who did it.

The Night Of hadn’t been a show that had been on until I found myself watching the preview/trailer thing on IMDB one Sunday evening. During the two-minute clip, I thought I spied the face of someone whom I have grown to be very fond of, and after doing some research, I discovered my eyes had not been mistaken, and that I would certainly be seeing the show. I feel like that was a very positive decision to make as I absolutely loved watching this mini-series!

Many people have said that it was not the story that made this show so great, but that it is the way it was told and I couldn’t agree more. There were some phenomenal performances throughout the series, most notably those provided by Riz Ahmed and John Turturro as Naz and his lawyer. All I had seen of Ahmed prior to this was in Nightcrawler and I recall being quite impressed then, although there might have been another factor influencing my verdict then. He didn’t disappoint me here as Naz. There was quite an evolution that took place over the course of the story, and I think both Ahmed’s performance and the writers did a great job of ensuring this gradual change in character left the audience undecided about whether Naz had committed the crime he stood accused of. 

As much as I admired Ahmed’s wonderful show though, I have to say I thought John Turturro’s turn as underdog defence lawyer John Stone was a real treat to witness. It was a prime example of what you could say was tough love, and it was absolutely brilliant! It was one of those performances that are just captivating – when he was on-screen, there was nothing I could do to take my eyes off him. Turturro played perhaps not the most easily likeable character but I think it’s fair to say that by the time the final verdict had been reached in the courtroom, he was certainly a fan favourite.

Right, now, even though he as a somewhat minor character, I’m still going to crowbar in a small bit about the man who was the reason The Night Of caught my attention. The Wire‘s finest, Michael Kenneth Williams, starred as prison kingpin and Naz’s mentor, Freddy – a role very befitting of him if you ask me. He was charismatic as always, and I loved seeing him on my TV again.

The story, as I’ve mentioned, really is nothing that we haven’t seen before but, as I’ve also mentioned, it was done in a way that made it stand out from some of the more mediocre crime shows. In each episode the writers showed us another side of Naz that left us unsure as to whether or not he could have killed his lady friend, which meant we were left undecided about his innocence (or guilt) right until that final episode – exactly what you want from a show like this.

On the whole, The Night Of is definitely a show you should check out if you haven’t already, and if you’re in a position to binge-watch when you do so, 100% just go for it! This is going to be one of the contenders at some of the big TV awards I think – it was a really solid show. The writing and acting go hand in hand to deliver to us a very fine TV show that I think most people will struggle to find fault with.