Mank (2020) A Worth Watch For Cinephiles.
Mank (2020) is another technical masterpiece from director David Fincher, a master of details who brought great movies like Fight Club, Seven, The Social Network, Gone Girl, etc. However, this artistic masterpiece suffers from a lack of personality. David Fincher’s late father, Jack Fincher, wrote the script of Mank (2020). Follows the real story of Herman Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) shortly called as Mank, working on Citizen Kane (1941) screenplay. Citizen Kane is considered the greatest film of all time because of its filmmaking and screenplay that Hollywood has never seen before.
Mank is an influential exceptional writer; he is washed up and addicted to gambling and alcohol at present. After Orson Welles calls Mank to write a screenplay for him without credit, He sets sail to write a story that has never been shown on the film screen. Mank writes his lead roles based on William Randolf, Marion Davies, and many studio political figures. William Randolf, an American businessman, newspaper publisher, and politician. And Marion Davies, an American actress, screenwriter, and philanthropist.
Disappointingly the plot, which should be more interesting, feels dull and flat without any emotion. Even for the cinephile, the overburdened character’s heavy dialogues linked to the studio and politics make it easily lost in every corner. For non-American like me, the political track is so distracting. It didn’t seem engaging enough to do the homework about the characters. Still, once again, Gary Oldman gave an award-worthy performance as an alcoholic, self-destructive writer along with Amanda Seyfried. She is genuinely shined as Marion Davies.
Capturing the true essence of the 1940s movies is not an easy task. In Mank, from using Monostrochrome cameras to lighting, greyness, and clothing textures, many did pitch perfectly in mastery direction from David Fincher. It’s a beautiful homage to Citizen Kane and 1940s movies.
Conclusion: To be clear, Mank (2020) isn’t for everyone; it may fall behind with its not engaging story. However, it definitely takes the audience to the 1940s era with its immaculate crafting and performance—a worth watch for cinephiles. my rating 7/10.
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins
Genre: Biography, Drama
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020) Never seen Chadwick Boseman like this, Viola Davis disappears in August Wilson words
There isn’t much to say, except the explosive performance of Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020) based on a real story, play written by August Wilson. The movie takes place over the single hot summer day of 1927. Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) “Mother of Blues” and her band settle to record an album, contracted by white producers. Tensions rise over the recording session between Levee (Chadwick Boseman) ambitions but hot-headed cornet player, Ma Rainey and white management.
Adopting a play to film is tricky. There is no denying that August Wilson playwriting is crisp and gripping. The captivating heavy monologues show the deep roots of characters and their emotions; however, it has much opportunity to refine and enlarge to fit the movie. Tony award-winner American playwright and director of theatre George C. Wolfe didn’t pull the strings that were needed. The camera work, colour palette, approach of direction doesn’t sync the movie. The film feels like a collection of theatrical set pieces. To his credit, he brought the best of the best from his actors.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020) is the movie I would recommend to experience the cast’s fantastic performance, especially from Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. From 42(2013) to underrated film Get on Up (2014) to blockbuster Blank Panther (2018), late Chadwick Boseman illustrates his amazing career. Here he surpassed everything he did in the Levee role as an arrogant, humorous, sympathetic role. As always Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis steals every scene she is in; she gives a commanding performance in her unapologetic, fearless character.
Never seen Chadwick Boseman like this, Viola Davis disappears in August Wilson words. my rating 7/10.
Director: George C. Wolfe
Cast: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman
Genre: Drama, Music
News of The World (2020) Tom Hanks (America’s dad) in a beautiful panoramic western world
News of The World (2020) is a classic western genre that we missed this year. Surprisingly this is the first western movie for Tom Hanks, who has nearly four decades of an acting career. Tom Hanks reteams with his Captain Phillips (2013) director Paul Greengrass, known for his fast-paced action movies like United 93 (2006), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). With News of the World, both wear cowboy boots for the first time.
In 1870, five years after the civil war, Captain Jefferson Kidd (Tom Hanks, previous film Greyhound), a veteran of three wars, now moves town to town, reading the news to locals for ten cents per head. Bringing the latest developments happening out there and stories of hope and entertainment. On traveling to the next location, Captain comes across an overturned wagon, sees a dead man hanging on the tree, and a frightened ten-year-old girl watching nearby. Johanna (Helena Zengel) is a German girl raised by Kiowa’s (Native American tribe); she has never experienced anything outside of her world. The Captain is on a mission to deliver Johanna to her aunt and uncle, whom she never met. The 600 km journey is not an easy one; both face tremendous challenges encountering danger at every turn and also mending their damaged souls by past.
Tom Hanks, a two-time Oscar winner, did his best with the given material, as a stoic injured soul character, starts to change as the journey progresses. Captain Kidd is also the same as Hanks, a trusty storyteller, attracts with words. Captain Kidd is forced to read fake propaganda news, refuses instead opts to read a coal miners story is phenomenal. Helena Zengel’s child actor is extraordinary; the father-daughter chemistry is instantly likable. However, the familiar, predictable story is a weak link to the movie and occasionally feels boring and dull.
For an action movie director Paul Greengrass, changing gears to a slow-paced western film, placing the audience in western lyrics is surprising and praiseworthy. In some scenes, Greengrass shows his old skills, like in the intense shootout when the Captain faces three thugs after Johanna. The cinematography and background music are the best parts. Cinematographer Dariusz seized landscapes of Texas, with natural lighting using wide shots. James Newton Howard’s Musical score is moving.
Conclusion: It’s a pleasure to watch Tom Hanks (America’s dad) in a beautiful panoramic western world; other than that, News of The World (2020) is pretty generic and occasionally dull. my rating 7/10.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Tom Astor
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Western
One Night in Miami (2020)
Oscar-winning actress Regina King makes her directorial debut with the characters that transformed the USA’s civil rights movement. Though One Night in Miami (2020) is a fictionalized meeting based on real legends, it uses historical references to piece together the screenplay. The story follows after Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree) won the heavyweight champion title over Sonny Liston. He joins Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and Sam Cooke(Leslie Odom Jr.) in a motel room in Miami to celebrate his victory. Sam Cooke is an American singer and songwriter; Jim Brown is one of the greatest NFL players. No introduction is needed for Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. Soon, the meeting turns into a series of debates about racial inequality, the responsibilities they bear as public figures, and the civil rights movement.
The conversation from systematic racism to politics is riveting, and with no wonder, it’s reminiscent to this day. The arguments also show that the larger than life icons are also humans with pain. The discussions are engaging for the audience to take sides with the characters. It’s impossible to beat Will Smith’s performance playing Muhammad Ali in Ali (2001) and Denzel Washington in Malcolm X (1992); still, the entire cast of One Night in Miami (2020) given a promising performance. Regina King’s confident direction can be seen in the heated discussions. She allows actors to do their best work, draws the audience’s attention even when most of the movie takes place in a packed room, a real achievement for a debut director.
As much as I loved the second half, I was disappointed in the first gray forty minutes. It leaves the feeling that something is lacking. The unbalanced script and unclear narrative structure could turn off the audience in the beginning. It could be better with some editing or utilizing background music and effects to cover up the movie’s unevenness and shallow atmosphere. For myself, overall, I was delighted to watch the film for many I would recommend Malcolm X (1992) and Ali (2001), which are better in every aspect, and they are biopics, not fictional.
Conclusion: The gripping, mesmerizing arguments between real-life black panthers fire up after first soundless, gloomy forty minutes. my rating 6.5/10.
Director: Regina King
Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr.
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