Tag Archives: Tom Hanks

Toy Story 4 (2019) Movie Review By The Moviie Couple

Toy Story 4 continues the adventures of Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear along with their old friends now living in Bonnie’s Room. All our old favorites are back, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as the bosom buddy toys are joined by Jessie, Rex, Ham, Slinky Dog, Potato Head as well as Dolly, Trixie, and Mr Picklepants from part three.Director: Josh Cooley
Writers: John Lasseter (original story by), Andrew Stanton (original story by
Stars: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts

Moviie Couple here! We went to see Toy Story 4 this weekend! Remember we are just a married couple that loves movies! We’re here to tell you if we liked it. Film experts we are not! Just a quick reminder of our rating system. Mrs. Moviie Couple and I, rate films on whether they are worth the cash spent on a night out. we use a 1-6 Dollar Bill system. 1-2 Bills equal a waste of both our time and money! 3-4 Bills equal Meh to Pretty Good, money well spent! 5-6 Bills equal Wow! Well worth the price of dinner, movie and sitter! Please take our money again!

Toy Story 4 continues the adventures of Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear along with their old friends now living in Bonnie’s Room. All our old favorites are back, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as the bosom buddy toys are joined by Jessie, Rex, Ham, Slinky Dog, Potato Head as well as Dolly, Trixie, and Mr Picklepants from part three.

Bonnie is growing up and getting ready for Kindergarten. She is fearful and as a way of coping creates an arts and crafts toy named Forky (voiced by Tony Hale). Remember, we do not spoil films here, but suffice to say Forky is very important to Bonnie and Woody and Buzz are there to help him learn the importance of his new position.
Along the way (You’ve seen this in trailers) there is a road trip to a carnivale, the return of Bo Peep (Annie Potts)! New toys (both friends and enemies met along the way) including Ducky and Bunny (Key and Peele of comedy and film fame), Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) and Duke Caboom (voiced by the one and only John Wick himself, Keanu Reeves!).

The film is directed by Josh Cooley. Cooley’s only directing work until this point was two Pixar shorts. Toy Story is a grand road trip adventure with a lot to say about growing up, finding one’s place in the world and how it’s never too late to make a change. Pretty deep stuff for a kids movie seen through the eyes of animated children’s toys! Does it work? Will the kids love it? How about the older generation that grew up on Woody and Buzz? Is this one Toy Story too many? Queue up the Randy Newman music, grab your favorite old stuffed animal or blanky and lets hurry to find out! Let’s get to the reviews!
So here we go!

Mr. Moviie Couple: Truth be told, I was expecting this to be just a huge cash grab for Disney Studios. It’s common knowledge that the theme parks just recently opened an entire area of rides dedicated to the Toy Story characters. So the timing couldn’t be any better for the Mouse House. And didn’t we really get a great conclusion to the Toy Story “Trilogy” already? Is there any reason other than money for this film to exist? I mean really? (Said in my best Tom Hanks voice). Well Actually…There is!

Can the writers come up with one last story worth filming? In the soon to be immortal catch phrase of Duke Caboom “Yes, They Can..ada!” You’ll get that after you’ve seen the movie. This film grows Woody and gives our favorite toy sheriff an actual character arc to complete! By the films end (Which we will absolutely not be spoiling) Woody grows and learns more about who he is than he did in all three of the other films.

As with all Toy Story films, we get emotions out of our shared nostalgic experience of having beloved toys of our own growing up, and this is no different. But beyond just enjoying seeing Woody, Buzz and the gang again, we meet new toys with all new personalities and the return of a missing original. Make no mistake, Bo Peep is a star in this film! She is the new hero of this world and its not in a forced, shoehorned way that the Marvel films have been using to show that their world isn’t just for boys. Bo Peep is heroic without taking anything away from Woody or the others we have grown to love. She just is amazing with nothing to prove. She is a favorite and Annie Potts shines as her voice!

I have to talk about the new toys besides the returning Bo. They are all a welcome addition to the team. The comedy and friend team of Key and Peele lend their voices and I’m sure comic talents to the film as Duck and Bunny. These two plush carnival toys provide some of the funniest sequences and had me laughing out loud. Gabby Gabby, voiced by Christina Hendricks, is the antagonist in the film (no spoiling you can tell by posters and trailers), but like the best antagonists we totally understand her motivations! She is like a Toy Thanos, in her reasoning, not her power level. Let’s not get carried away. We even get a new action toy ala Buzz in Duke Caboom, Canada’s Daredevil Stunt Rider (Think a Canadian version of the old Evel Knievel toy from back in the day) voiced perfectly by Keanu Reeves.

While maybe not as complex, as Inside Out or Toy Story 3, I found this to be an emotional conclusion to the Toy Story Saga (It’s a Saga after 3 films right?) I must admit I got something in my eye at the end. It caused me to tear up and Mrs. Moviie Couple could have sworn I was crying. I will not confirm or deny. Just a great film to end the series on. After four great pulls from this well, I do believe the well is dry, but I’ll never say never. I give Toy Story 4 5 Bills!

Mrs. Moviie Couple: Adored this movie! She was happy to once again see a girl in a position of action and power to inspire the young ones out there! She found Bo Peep to be a great heroic role model for the young girls in the audience! She wanted to warn some parents that Gabby Gabby’s “henchmen” toy dummies could be frightening for younger viewers. She found them unsettling and she’s an adult. Just a precaution to parents. She loved the themes. She found the movie to be all about Parenting (Woody having to parent a young Forky), friendship (as always in these movies), seasons of life and a little bit of romance thrown in. A very well rounded film!. These themes promote children to keep trying, think in unconventional ways and to see change as a good thing rather than with anxiety or fear.

She liked how Woody and Buzz learned to adapt and enjoyed Forky as an out of the box creation! She knows how many young children can create toys with imagination and it has just as much meaning as a store bought toy and felt that was a great concept to bring into the Toy Story world. It was all done with great humor as well!
She feels the best age group for this movie is ages 5 and up! There were kids younger in the theatre and they were bored and running about! She really loved this film, but also felt the closure found at the conclusion of this one should herald the end. It was an emotional finish! Nothing more needs to be said! She also gives Toy Story 5 Bills!

On the way home, We talked all about the journey of Woody and Buzz, the new characters, the perfect ending (one that seems perfect for those older kids that grew up with the toy buddies) that may or may not have brought me to a few tears. We agreed it was far Beyond (Infinity?) our expectations! While not racing to see it in theatres again, we will be adding it to our video catalogue and highly recommend this movie. Well worth the money spent and a great night out at the movies! I give it 5 Bills, just a great conclusion to a great franchise. The Mrs. gives it 5 Bills! She loved the messages and the growth of the beloved characters! So we have a solid 5 Bills! Highly recommended!

Till next time, Check for snakes in your boots pardner, and always set your sights to Infinity and Beyond! Be sure to check our facebook page for a clue to our next movie up for review! Mr. & Mrs. Moviie Couple out!

Apollo 13 (1995) Movie Retro Review By John Walsh

Apollo 13.png

Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Jim Lovell (book), Jeffrey Kluger (book)
Stars: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon

The late 1960s to early 1970s must have been both an exiting and terrifying time to be alive. The Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union was the catalyst for mankind’s exploration of the Moon, albeit with the added caveat of an impending nuclear armageddon lingering at the back of everyone’s minds. The US still continued to plow ahead with their lunar missions and space program, even after they had won the sabre rattling, glorified flexing contest that was the space race. 

If you ask me, it wasn’t about scientific studies or advancement. The US were determined to establish utter dominance in the field whilst giving their Russian counterparts a regular reminder of who was boss at a time when both were arguably a genuine match for each other. Regardless though, NASA’s achievements, their advancement of technology and daring can’t be overlooked or downplayed. I know there’s people out there that still think the Moon landings were faked, but they’re tin foil hat wearing, loons with a predisposition for eating Cheetos and sitting in darkened basements. 

Overwhelming success and the meeting of JFK’s wish for getting a man on the moon by the end of the 60s aside though, it wasn’t all plain sailing for everyone’s favourite boffins. As the brilliant Ron Howard film Apollo 13 highlights all too vividly, they were never far away from potential human tragedy. The state of the art technology at that time is now looking rather simplistic to say the least and not at all the kind you’d want to be reliant on taking you the 384,400km distance required to reach our nearest celestial neighbour. It’s this story of near tragedy that Howard portrays with exceptional detail. 

It follows a quartet of astronauts, though primarily Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks), a man who was a member of Apollo 8 and became one of the first people to orbit the Moon. He was originally intended for the Apollo 14 mission, but the original commander for 13 was deemed too inexperienced and therefore his big day in the lunar sun was brought forward. Sadly, Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise), one of the original trio, contracted measles and was replaced after some protestations from Lovell. The two other men were Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon). I’ve mentioned this before in a profile we did of Bacon, but this is one of the best leading quartets that I’ve seen in a film. 

The story pretty much tells itself at this point, such is the infamy of the doomed mission. But if you’ve been hiding under a rock for forty odd years then I’ll do my best to summarise in the briefest of manners.

The Apollo 13 mission was originally scheduled to land on the Moon, like the two that preceded it and the four that followed, but as anyone with an eye for history will already know, that didn’t happen. They encountered a few technical difficulties, including a second stage engine prematurely cutting off before leaving the Earths atmosphere, but the fatal blow to the crews hopes of tanning on the lunar dunes with a bud light came when a liquid oxygen tank exploded. This left the other tank leaking, with attempts at containing it failing, sparking off a frenetic attempt to hatch up a plan for their safe return home. 

As you can hopefully tell, that is a pretty spectacular story for a Hollywood period drama. Though, as I’ve often noted, it’s not the traditional hoorah, USA, chest thumpathon that they could’ve opted to make. It’s a delicate story of hope, disappointment, human strength and ingenuity, but more importantly its understated in its application. The plot is gripping, full to the brim with tension, exhilarating highs and crotch kicking lows, and despite already knowing the outcome, it has you willing them to the Moon and praying for a safe return when it’s cruelly snatched from their grasp. You care for these characters and that’s down to a combination of factors. 

Firstly, as I mentioned before, the acting is fantastic across the board. Tom Hanks is already an established acting great and was even at this point in 95. This performance came off the back of Philadelphia and Forrest Gump, and he even had Toy Story in the can too. It’s his film, make no mistake about it, but Bacon, Sinise and Paxton are all superb too. Kathleen Quinlan as Jim’s wife Marilyn and Ed Harris as Gene Kranz also deliver standout performances. We even get the customary appearance from Clint Howard. Secondly, the brilliant score from James Horner. I absolutely love the music in this film, it’s stirring, pulls on the heart strings in points and drives the drama perfectly. 

Finally, the cinematography, attention detail and research that went into making this feel real was off the scale. Dean Cundey has worked on many a great film and he brings all of that expertise to the table in Apollo 13.

They built scale model replicas of the actual crafts used on the mission, cutting them in half to allow the cameras to get up close and personal. Not only does this immerse the viewer into the film, because you almost feel like you’re there, but it captures the cramped environment these guys had to work with perfectly. Then you take into account them going up in special planes, to get zero gravity shots, each lasting twenty odd seconds a time, just to capture the actual floating the astronauts experienced and you get a sense of the dedication they had in making this feel as authentic as possible. No wonder it nabbed the Oscar for best editing. 

There’s truly inspirational moments to be had too. The sequence where the NASA officials frantically try to deduce a plan for fitting a square object into a circular opening, using just the things available to the guys in space. A perfect example of human ingenuity. The sight of Mattingly spending hours in the test module, going through every possible way to get his friends home. The solemn acceptance from Lovell that he’ll never get a chance to walk on the Moon as he looks down upon its surface and just experiencing what these poor buggers had to go through, knowing fine well it actually happened and they managed to overcome unimaginable adversity to get back in one piece. 

This is one of my favourite films from the 1990s. I have nothing but great memories of watching it as a young boy, it’s a nostalgia trip and it explores a necessary message that some could do with learning. That even in subjective failure or moments of crisis, there’s something to learned. It explores much more than that though. But fundamentally, it’s just a great watch. It’s a period piece, which I love anyway, it’s a biopic based off Jim Lovells own experiences, so you can’t get any closer to the real events if you tried and it’s got some fantastic actors bringing their A game. 

I can’t not recommend this one. 

Rating: 5/5

The Post (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

THE POST

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer
Stars: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood

The much anticipated Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” starring for the first time together Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks is about a cover-up that spanned four US Presidents pushing the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between Journalist and Government. The tail end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 saw a good handful of films that I couldn’t wait to see and with the Academy Awards just round the corner you knew to expect some crackers in there. “The Post” being one of them.

Surprisingly this is the first time Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks have appeared in a movie together and that itself sold this film on me. The subject in this day and age is becoming more common with instant access on the internet to scandal after scandal, but you have to take yourself out of the present day and remember a time when Newspapers were more relevant and informative (whether true or not) and basically the only medium that kept the public informed of the current affairs.

As well as Streep and Hanks as the main characters in the film, it’s supporting cast of Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford and Bruce Greenwood were impressive. Hey even David Cross makes an appearance. The supporting performances in “The Post” were solid and tight throughout and I was particularly impressed by Bob Odenkirk portraying Ben Bagdikian. I felt they filmmakers gave him justified screen time without  it appearing forced or unnecessary. Odenkirk to me is the stand out amongst the supporting cast and the actor justifies his involvement in this project.

On the other hand, Meryl Streep takes her time to shine and came through as Kay Graham (Washington Post) and what appeared to be constant bickering and prodding by her fellow directors in trying to manipulate Graham in deciding not to go ahead and publish the classified information, I was relieved to see the actress do what she does best and in this case put the sniffling little toads in their place and remind them of who is running the paper.

Hanks as Ben Bradlee is okay I guess. To be honest, I’ve seen the actor in better films and in better roles but I’ve always been a fan of the actor and here he does the job, that’s really all I can say on the performance. I think the role of Bradlee in the film is essentially supportive to Graham and means well. I have to admit at the beginning of the movie I didn’t really care for him as he came across as a bit of a douchebag but as the story moved along he grew on me.

The film itself is a mixed bag. Yes there are folk out there who think the timing of this movies release is deliberate in today’s times politically and historically. While at times it has neither the high emotional stakes and dramatic tension it should have had, the actors are good and in particular the supporting roles. The plot is interesting to a point and I think Director Steven Spielberg does well to present the audience with the story of the turbulent politics of the Vietnam era that leads to the controversies surrounding the Pentagon Papers.

My only gripe is that the movies pacing is a little off at times and I don’t mean interspersed throughout. The first 90 minutes or so is the build up to what decision Kay Graham and The Washington Post take in regards to releasing the information to the public. The problem with the build up is 90 minutes is a long time and believe me it feels longer. The final 15 -20 minutes of the film is where finally we can pigeon hole the film into the “Drama” category and believe me it is tense and this is where we finally get to see Streep and Hanks excel. The film contains a few moments that feel a bit underwhelming and at times very clichéd rather than powerful.

Overall “The Post” is a watchable movie that could have been better structured. The look and feel of the movie represents the era these events took place in from cinematography to costume design very well and takes you back to a time before computers were main stream and the information wasn’t so accessible as it is today. The cover-up that spanned four US Presidents is handled from the Washington Post’s point of view and part of me is curious to see how Spielberg might have used it from the perspective of The New York Times who published articles and quoting from it in summer 1971.

Would that have made a more intense drama? Who knows? “The Post” is what it is and my expectations for this movie is what probably has hindered my view on it. Decent and I do recommend watching it.

Captain Phillips (2013) Movie Retro Review by Stephen McLaughlin

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

Director: Paul Greengrass
Writers: Billy Ray (screenplay), Richard Phillips (based upon the book “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea”)
Stars: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman

Sometimes a movie will come along and you won’t go near it initially. There is no reason for this other than erm… nah. Four years later I watch Captain Philips and my initial thought is Why did it take me so long to watch this true story about Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the U.S. flagged MV Maersk Alabama?

Interestingly enough this was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Now for anyone who hasn’t watched this thinking there is a chance this may be a real life version of “Under Siege (1992)” think again. There is very little action in this movie, “Captain Phillips” is in actual fact a tense physiological thriller.

Tom Hanks portrays Captain Phillips and comes across as a methodical and meticulous individual which I suppose in his position he has to be. Whilst reading about pirate threats in the waters they are sailing in on route to their destination off the coast of Africa he begins to think that practise drills in the event of a mutiny wouldn’t be a bad idea and having the crew ready.

Whilst practicing these drills Phillips notices an unusual movement on the radar and quickly realises pirates are on their way. The thing I like about the Captain is he never breaks away from procedure and believes taking the necessary action and preventions should be enough to keep these pirates at bay. In fact, that’s exactly what happens the first time as the pirates fail to conquer and can’t keep up with the cargo ship.

Phillips and the crew know that that isn’t the end and begin to plan for the next attack. It isn’t long before the pirates are back and more prepared to climb on board the ship. After failed attempts by the crew to water cannon the pirates off the boat, Muse (Barkhad Abdi) declares himself the new captain and along with his pirate crew take control of the ship.

There is a desperation to Muse and his crew and this stems back to the troubles the people of Somalia endure and pressure from their bosses to succeed in their mutiny. Barkhad Abdi’s character switches between a man in control and confident to a confused and troubled man. Mostly this has to do with Captain Philipps managing to get in his head and Tom Hanks is brilliant and delivering his dialogue at the right moment and the right tone in these scenes to “derail” the initial plans of the pirates in diversions and stalling tactics.

Unfortunately after a series of arguments and brawls the pirates decide to take Captain Phillips hostage on one of his own life boats. This is where I think the movie excels as a physiological thriller. One man in a confined space unarmed against four pirates on edge with guns awaiting a ransom from the US Government.

Over the course of the next hour of the movie it is interesting to see Phillips get in the head of the youngest of the pirates who injured his foot on board the Cargo Ship and the Captain is willing to help the boys injury. For the audience members we understand what he is really doing is trying to split the group mentally and show he isn’t a threat to them and in fact tried to find them an easy route out of this mess without anyone getting killed in the process.

The Action flits back and force between the US Navy and the Pirate ship as negotiations between the parties for the safety of Captain Phillips begins. If I had a slight niggle about the character of Phillips it would be from what I read he was mentally tortured for long period of times in the real life situation. In the movie none of that is really evident apart from a few moments of anxiety from Tom Hanks. The physiological aspect of the final third is more like a slow game of chess, which in turn adds to the suspense and the negotiations are very cagey as Max Martini who portrays the SEAL Commander is the voice between the Navy and the Pirates and does a stern job of being in control of the situation and adds to the intensity of the situation also.

For anyone who hasn’t watched “Captain Phillips” I won’t ruin the ending but what I will say is that the climax to the movie and the ending is emotionally draining. Tom Hanks rarely disappoints and here is no exception. From beginning to the end his portrayal of the Captain is grounded and real. There are no obvious heroics but a subtle bravery from this man who all the time was thinking of the well being of his crew and to an extent the pirates also.

Cinematically the movie is very close to the actors and a lot of the shots are close up of their faces and the emotions running through these characters is obvious to see. Director of photography Barry Ackroyd manages to capture some beautiful shots and along with the films editor Christopher Rouse know how to intensify a scene with the timing of each scene. Henry Jackman is perfect to add atmosphere with his beautiful score and with an impressive CV in the MCU, X-Men and the Kingsman you can see (or is that hear) it was a no brainer.

Overall “Captain Phillips” could have been an over the top action movie based on real life events. Thankfully this movie hit all the right notes as far as I’m concerned and my experience of the film was engaging, enthralling and emotional. I highly recommend this to anyone who hasn’t watched it yet. I can see why it was nominated for 6 academy awards. Highly Recommendable.

The Circle (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin

THE CIRCLE

Director: James Ponsoldt
Writers: James Ponsoldt (screenplay), Dave Eggers (screenplay)
Stars: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Glenne Headly, Bill Paxton, Karen Gillan, Ellar Coltrane

Having watched “The Circle” on Netflix I have mixed feelings about this film in so many levels. The main character portrayed by Emma Watson “Mae” is in a dead end job and portrays a young lady with an unfulfilled life. Receiving a life changing call from her best friend Annie (Karen Gillan) that she has been accepted into the world’s largest and most powerful tech and social media company “The Circle”

“The Circle” facility isn’t much different from working environments that major companies such as Apple or Microsoft create in blending working life with social life and an informal office space. Mae rises through the ranks and is encouraged by the founder of “The Circle” Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks) to engage in groundbreaking experiments that push the boundaries of privacy, ethics and ultimately her personal freedom. Her personal life and in particular her family are affected by the environment that she becomes involved in.

Staying on this side of the characters it was one of the plus points of the movie and if they had shown us more of the effect on her family I think the movie would have been better balanced and added more Drama. Sadly portraying her parents Vinnie and Bonnie were the late great actors Bill Paxton and Glenne Headly who only passed away this year and tragically only 4 months apart. Both Paxton and Headly are fine in this movie and the characters give the movie some humanity and roundedness that is necessary in this story.

John Boyega (Ty) and Karen Gillan (Annie) sadly with their acting credentials they are supporting characters at best and don’t offer much to the storyline other than a link to normality for Mae as does the character of Mercer played by Ellar Coltrane who could have been potential boyfriend material for Mae at the beginning of the movie but dissipates as the story unfolds and only serves as a moral compass at the movies climax.

I mentioned earlier that I have mixed feelings about this movie and that is because of the acting line up for this movie offered so much talent but disappointingly come off a little wooden at times and I’ll even go as far as saying a little cringey at times with their delivery and dialogue. That’s not a direct dig at James Ponsoldt who Directed the movie and wrote the screen play. I just felt that some scenes felt over explained and dragged on and felt the Director was overemphasising the need to assume his audience would require a lot of the script to be dumbed down to understand the “techy speak”

I’ve been a fan of Tom Hanks for over 30 years now and he rarely disappoints and although the character of Eamon Bailey the founder of “The Circle” comes off as a Steve Jobs / Mark Zuckerberg hybrid pioneer I didn’t hate the character as much as the filmmaker was intending Bailey to be as the “Villain” of the movie. Just like the Jobs and Zuckerbergs of this world they pushed the technology envelope as far as they could and were always looking for the next “What Next?” in their companies. That doesn’t make them the bad guy in any sense. I have to admit I hated the staff at “The Circle” more.

“The Circle” if I am comparing similar tones is a blend of “The Social Network” and “The Truman Show” where it attempts to test the audiences feelings on privacy and morals but just falls flat as another flaw I felt in the movie was when this story takes place. If it’s in the near future then I can accept some of the processes and ideas the company are trying to project as they appear flawed and a little far fetched but “could” be possible one day (I’m thinking George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four predictions)

In Summary “The Circle” is a not bad film. Yes it has it flaws like most films and the potential is always greater than the end result. I would recommend giving it a watch as the subject matter is interesting enough although the drama is a bit run of the mill, it does make you think (however crass at times) I would give it a go.