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Posts Tagged ‘Gene Hackman’

replacements

Sports film (not often my genre) about American Football (a game I do not enjoy). Should’ve hated it, but really enjoyed it.

Due to a players strike, the Washington Sentinels American Football team need to put together a team from a ragtag bunch of has-beens and never-weres. (The film was actually inspired by the actual strike of 1987). Keanu Reeves leads the fray as Shane Falco, a washed up player. Other cast members include Gene Hackman as Coach Jimmy McGinty, and Jon Favreau, Orlando Jones, Rhys Ifans (yes really) and Michael Jace as other players, with Brooke Langton as the obligatory love interest.

The film is played for a lot of laughs, and perhaps for this reason, I really enjoyed it. (Also maybe because I watched it with my husband after in the pub. And because Keanu Reeves.)

Recommended to fans of sports films, underdog films, or Keanu Reeves!

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Year of release: 2000

Director: Howard Deutch

Writer: Vince McKewin

Main cast: Gene Hackman, Keanu Reeves, Brooke Langton, Jon Favreau, Orlando Jones, Rhys Ifans

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No…not the vampire love story with Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson. This film boasts an impressive cast – Paul Newman is the lead (and still looking great at 73), with Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon, James Garner, Liev Schreiber, Reese Witherspoon and Stockard Channing. Newman plays Harry Ross, a slightly down-at-heel retired private detective, who lives with his friends Jack and Catherine Ames (Hackman and Sarandon). When Jack, who is dying of cancer, asks Harry to do him a favour, Harry finds himself entering a murky world of betrayal and deceit, and uncovering some unsavory aspects of his friends’ past.

This film reminded me very much of the film noirs which were so popular during the 1940s and 1950s – in fact, I could almost imagine it in smoky black and white, with Humphrey Bogart starring! That is no criticism on my part; I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It has a mature (and I do mean mature, not old) cast, and a mature storyline. The acting is, as you would expect from such a stellar cast, impressive throughout, and Newman is perfect as the narrator and hero – of sorts – of the picture. He combines his natural charm, with world-weary emotion. You get the feeling that Ross is just plain tired of the world he inhabits, and he is just one of many characters in this film who are unsatisfied wtih their lives. Susan Sarandon has a timeless beauty, and looks stunning here, and Hackman….well, he’s just always terrific.

The plot has twists and turns, but it doesn’t get too complicated, which is a good thing. I like films that encourage the audience to think, but not films that are just too convoluted and end up being just plain confusing.

I would say that this is not the best film that any of the stars ever made, but if you are a fan of any of the cast, it is certainly worth a watch.

Year of release: 1998

Director: Robert Benton

Producers: Michael Hausman, Arlene Donovan, Scott Rudin, Scott Ferguson, David McGiffert

Writers: Robert Benton, Richard Russo

Main cast: Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon, Stockard Channing, Reese Witherspoon, James Garner

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This is a courtroom thriller, based on a novel by John Grisham (which I haven’t read).  It features an excellent leading cast – namely Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, John Cusack and Rachel Weisz.  Set in New Orleans, Dustin Hoffman plays Randall Rohr, the pro bono lawyer acting on behalf of a woman who is suing a gun company who she feels is responsible for the shooting of her husband two years earlier.  Gene Hackman is Rankin Fitch is a jury consultant, working on the side of the defence – helping them during the jury selection process in picking jurors who will tend to side with the defence and deliver a not guilty verdict.  Fitch has a remarkable success rate in his career and is clearly excellent at picking jurors who will be easily manipulated, and sympathetic towards his ‘side’.  However, somebody on the jury wants to manipulate the verdict from the inside – and when both Fitch and Rohr find themselves with an intriguing proposition, it becomes anybody’s guess as to which side will win…

I thought this movie was excellent.  The cast of big names does not disappoint, and Hackman and Hoffman in particular, shine throughout.  Cusack also slides easily into his role as amiable juror Nick Easter, who has his own agenda, which is not revealed until near the end of the film.

Although the film was a shade over two hours long, it felt like half that time, as it carried me along with it, and events moved at a rapid pace.  The plotting was clever, but not over-intricate and there were enough about-turns to keep me guessing.  Simply a good solid drama, with plenty to recommend it.

Year of release: 2003

Director: Gary Fleder

Writers: John Grisham (book), Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Rick Cleveland, Matthew Chapman

Main cast: Dustin Hoffman, John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Rachel Weisz

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