Catch Me If You Can is a film I shall be catching up with again in future

The true story of Frank Abagnale Jr., who had managed to conned his way to being a millionaire as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor and a legal prosecutor, all before his nineteenth birthday.

Growing up, Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) had always looked up to his father (Christopher Walken), who had constantly blagged his way through whatever situation he had found himself in until he got into too much trouble with the IRS. When financial strains got too much for the Abagnale family however, Frank’s parents split up, and when faced with the tough decision of choosing who he would live with, he ran. On his own in the world with not much of a life to go back to, Frank thought on his feet and dealt with the situation the only way he knew how. He did what his father had taught him, only he turned it up a notch and before long he is flying planes for Pan American Airlines, taking charge of junior doctors and nurses on hospital graveyard shifts, and putting away small time criminals in court – all the while making hundreds upon thousands of dollars. One man, Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) is hot on his tail, and what unfolds is one of the greatest cat and mouse chases that ever took place. And yep, this actually happened!

Catch Me If You Can is a film I started watching a couple of months ago, but never managed to finish it due to a fault the copy that I had. I was gutted because I was really enjoying it as well. However, as luck would have it, I managed to find it on the TV a couple of weeks ago, so I was able to finish watching it. At least I can say it was a film worth waiting for – this turned out to be a really fun watch, made even better by the fact that it was a true story.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance was one of the highlights of this film. In Catch Me If You Can, he is an actor playing another great pretender, and he made Abagnale really captivating to watch. Not to do DiCaprio any discredit though, but I do think he would have been an interesting character regardless of who played him. I do think DiCaprio elevated the character to even greater heights however, and I would absolutely list this as one of my favourite performances of his.

Tom Hanks is always wonderful regardless of what he’s in, but he was every part DiCaprio’s equal here as Carl Hanratty. There was real grit and determination apparent in Hanks’ performance, and you could also sense an element of desperation as he fought to convince his co-workers that fraud was a real crime. He needed the Abagnale case to prove this to people, and so you felt quite invested in his character’s story.

What I loved so much about this film was it’s story, and particularly the way it was told. The story itself was one you couldn’t make up, nor would you try to for fear of the slating it would receive for it’s implausibility. It is so amazing to think that this case actually happened all those years ago! This is exactly the kind of history I love as well, because it tells us about people you wouldn’t necessarily read about in a school textbook, yet the world wouldn’t be the way it is today without them having been. As for the way the narrative is delivered to us in this film, I found it to be quite effective how with each year that passed in the film, we were brought back to base with the Christmas phone calls. It meant that you never worried about losing your place with the plot, so you could sit back and enjoy it all the more.

All in all, this is definitely a film for you to see if you haven’t yet. Catch Me If You Can is just such a fun watch that also carries with it a little bit of history that actually really aids the film with it’s credibility. Both lead performances work to complement each other and a story that is truly riveting to watch, and also never shows any sign of where it might go with each scene that takes place. This is a film that I will be watching again in future.

Play To The Whistle Blogathon (in case you missed it!)

For those of you who missed it last week, I’m currently planning on hosting the Play To The Whistle Blogathon from June 3rd – July 8th 2017 to coincide with the British and Irish Lions tour. Joining me in this venture is Josh from Reffing Movies, and already we’ve gained interest from a handful of fellow film bloggers, including MovieRob, Drew, Catherine, Carl and Charlene.

Any sports film will qualify, so if you’ve got a movie that you want to share with the world, send us your review(s) to feature in the event!

If you’re interested, just let me or Josh know either by the comments section, email, Twitter or carrier pigeon, and make sure you’ve sent your entries in by May 26th 2017.

You can send your review(s) to filmandtv101withkiracomerford@outlook.com or themoviereferee@gmail.com
We’re looking forward to receiving your contributions – ready, set, go!

Play To The Whistle Blogathon


Any rugby fan will tell you that this summer is a big one for the sport – the British and Irish Lions are touring New Zealand between June and July! Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know that I really get behind Leinster and Ireland when they’re playing, so these special matches are something I am very much looking forward to.To mark the occasion, I’ve decided to hold a blogathon, and I’m teaming up with Josh from Reffing Movies for this momentus event. He’s another fan of the game with a funny shaped ball, so is a fine addition to the line up here.


The rules are simple – just submit a review of any film of your choosing that has sport as a main theme or feature. You can send your submissions to me at filmandtv101withkiracomerford@outlook.com or Josh at themoviereferee@gmail.com. Make sure you have sent all the reviews you would like to feature by May 26th 2017, ready for the blogathon to kick off on June 3rd.

This is the first blogathon I’ve hosted (and depending on how well it goes, it could very well be the last!), so please get on board to try and make it reasonably successful. Between us, we’ve come up with an idea that we’re hoping will make our blogathon a little different to some of the others we’ve seen, so keep an eye out for our first posts, which will give you a taste of what’s to come.

If you’re interested in taking part, let me or Josh know via Twitter, email, or the good ol’ trusty comments section, and feel free to share this post to spread the word.

Tuesday Top Ten – My Favourite Bruce Willis Films

This Sunday just gone, it was Bruce Willis’ birthday, so what better time for me to take a look back on some of my favourite films of his? It was tough narrowing this list down if I’m honest – I’ve seen a few too many Bruce Willis films in the last few years. Trimming the shortlist from 25 to 10 was hard, but I got there eventually.
10. Split


Fair enough, this maybe wouldn’t be considered a Willis film by most, but the way I see it is he appeared in it, so it counts. So far this year, this has probably been my favourite mainstream film to come out, however because it’s not really a Willis film, I couldn’t put it any higher.

9. The Jackal


This film is a guilty pleasure of mine, and it is one of my favourites by Brucie. For me, there’s a few plus points with The Jackal, not least Richard Gere’s god-awful Irish accent – I think he would have given Brad Pitt a run for his money in Snatch. I find it to be a fun watch, even if it is considered to be rather terrible my a lot of people.

8. Over The Hedge


This Dreamworks animation is one I always enjoy watching. Willis plays RJ, and isn’t exactly a good guy, but isn’t quite a supervillain either. While they’re never equal to the quality of Pixar’s early years, I do like Dreamworks films for the fact that they push their innuendos and disguised adult humour a bit further than most kids’ films.

7. Twelve Monkeys


This was a film that I really enjoyed for the first half, maybe even the first three quarters of it’s runtime, however it was after this point that it lost me entirely. Willis may have been the lead in the film, but it was Brad Pitt who was terrific here, and he was the reason I stuck with the whole thing to the end.

6. Die Hard With A Vengeance


This third instalment in the franchise is my favourite after the original. I loved the partnership between Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, which is a pairing that will feature more than once on this list. There are a number of scenes in this film that really make me laugh, but also there was plenty of action to go with them.

5. Lucky Number Slevin


I liked this film, but it was nothing special. I watched Tarantino-esque Lucky Number Slevin a few years ago and just thought it tried a bit too hard to be something it wasn’t. Nonetheless, it was a bit of fun and I’m glad I watched it.

4. Sin City


Sin City was a film that I also watched a few years ago and enjoyed, although to this day I’m still not entirely sure what actually went on throughout the story. Willis played a key character here in the form of Hartigan and was his usual wonderful self as a grizzled law enforcer. The man knows what he’s good at, and he’s reasonably good at sticking to it.

3. Unbreakable


I remember when I first watched Unbreakable, I don’t think I was overly impressed by it – I enjoyed it, but was singing from the rooftops about it. Looking back however, I can appreciate it far more. It is a brilliant film that I am planning to revisit very soon, and was also part of the reason why I enjoyed Split so much.

2. Pulp Fiction


Of course Tarantino’s best known film had to feature here somewhere. Willis’ role as Butch Coolidge here was brilliant, and in a line up of some really great characters, he completely held his own.

1. Die Hard


It would have been sacrilege to not put Die Hard at number one in a list of my favourite Bruce Willis films. This will always be known as the film that made him into a huge action star, and also the film that raised the bar for the action genre. 

So that’s all ten of my favourite Bruce Willis films. I enjoyed each and every one of them for different reasons, as I also did with many of the films that didn’t make the list. What would you include that I didn’t? Let me know via the comments below.  

Opinion Battles Round 5 Favourite Video Game Adaptation

Movie Reviews 101

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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 โ€“ Movie Reviews 101

Silent Hillsilent

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

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There’s a reason Moonlight (eventually) won Best Picture

*Please bare in mind I wrote this review before last night’s Oscars


A film chronicling the minefield of adolescence for a young boy struggling to find who he is.
A young man with a difficult home life comes of age in Miami during America’s ‘War On Drugs’ era. The tale of his adolescence is told through three chapters which detail every element of teenage years and young adulthood, and highlight his struggle in trying to discover who he really is.

Maybe I’ve left things very understated with that short synopsis of Moonlight, but then, maybe I haven’t. The film has a very basic concept, but, much like Fences, does the simple things very well. Perhaps the reason it has been so well received is that it is a film that resonates with everyone on some level. Whatever it is, it has ensured that the film has taken the world by storm.

Every single performance in this film is wonderful, but there are a couple of stand outs for me. Naomie Harris was very, very good as Paula, Chiron’s addict mother. She was a far cry from her previous performances as Eve Moneypenny in the James Bond films, and I think showed her capabilities as an actress as she has had no previous experience with addiction herself. She gave a convincing performance, and the progression, or should I say downward spiral, that we see with her character is crystal clear throughout the film.

Mahershala Ali was also terrific, although I have to be honest I had expected to see more of him, especially given the fact that he received an Oscar nomination for his work. One scene in particular was what sold his whole performance to me. If one thing is for certain, regardless of how long he was on-screen for, he made a lasting impact, which is what you want with every character you see in every film, otherwise what was the point of them being there in the first place?

As I’ve already said, the entire premise of this film is so simple, but that is where it’s genius lies. For me, it shares similarities with Boyhood with its tale of adolescence, but perhaps works out slightly better than the other film as it has a runtime that comes in at about an hour less. The struggles depicted throughout the film are along the lines of what we all have to deal with during this period of our lives and is why it works so well. 

Director Barry Jenkins really has accomplished something of greatness with Moonlight. One of the film’s greatest strengths was it’s use of silence. When you sit and think about it, there is a relatively low number of conversations that take place throughout the film – the spaces where nothing is spoken verbally screams way more than what the characters actually say, especially when it comes to Chiron. I can only assume that it was Jenkins’s awareness of the effectiveness of the sound of silence that made it almost like another character throughout the film.

On the whole, I’d say Moonlight is a very good film, but I have a feeling it may not clean up at the Oscars. That is no reflection on the film, but I just think it may be up against some stiff competition and there is one film that will definitely win a few awards. As good as it is, I also cannot quite say that it is my absolute favourite of all of this year’s nominees I have seen, but that does not mean it is not worth the time spent watching it.

Jackie is made great by one special performance


During the immediate aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, America’s First Lady battles through grief and trauma in order to prevent losing herself and maintain her husband’s legacy following his death.
After her husband’s assassination, Jackie Kennedy’s (Natalie Portman) world falls apart. Grieving and traumatised, she must tell her children that their daddy isn’t coming home, leave the White House and begin to plan his funeral, whilst also trying to ensure her husband’s legacy will be remembered, and leave her own mark in the history books.

So, I decided to watch Jackie, and going into the film, I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to feel about it. A lover of historical events, the subject matter wasn’t really going to be the issue. But I just didn’t really know that much about the film – there weren’t really any stars that were a huge draw for me here. I watched this film purely because of what people had said about Natalie Portman’s performance, and for what it’s worth, I’m glad I listened to them.

We’ll get down to business and start straightaway with Portman’s portrayal of Jackie. She is easily the greatest thing about this film, elevating it from something that would otherwise have been possibly average at best. She completely embodied the real Jacqueline Kennedy, making it easy to believe that that was who you were really watching. I loved how she got to show the whole range of emotions experienced by this woman on that day and in the days after it. We got to see that initial shock and hysteria, and then the strength that she had to take forwards from those moments for her family. There was terrific range displayed by Portman in this role, and deep down, I think I would love it if she won the Best Actress Oscar for her work here.

I can’t really pass comment on many of the other performances in here as it really was Portman’s film. There were a few surprise cast members however, although they had very minor roles. It actually amazed me how many stars from British TV made an appearance. The biggest shock was David Caves from Silent Witness as Clint Hill – I’ve never seen him in anything else before, and so I had to proceed to tell everyone that he had just showed up in the film I was watching. Needless to say his is a name I shall be storing in the memory banks for any future episodes of Pointless.

I really liked the way Jackie Kennedy was portrayed in the film, and I think she is a woman history should never be allowed to forget. She got bit of a rough deal when her husband was killed, and the way she was shown to deal with all of this in the film was sometimes upsetting to see, but showed all of her strength and character, and that she was her own woman, even without her husband.

Overall, I found Jackie to be a very enjoyable watch that I would recommend to people. Portman gives a masterclass in acting, and from what I’ve heard from a few of my U.S. counterparts, she absolutely nails the part she plays. She lifts the film to great heights and makes it a very compelling watch. I think it is a project that was very well made, and well worth seeing by everyone.