Tag Archives: tom hanks

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM (2020) – My rating: 5.7/10

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is a mockumentary comedy directed by Jason Woliner in his feature directorial debut. It is a sequel to 2006’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The film is about a young girl who is being offered as a bride to Vice President Mike Pence during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election. I didn’t like the first Borat movie and I disliked this sequel even more.  Too crass and too absurd for me.

Kazakh’s journalist, Borat Sagdiyev (Sacha Baron Cohen) is released after 14 years of labor in a gulag.  The order was given by the country’s Premier,  Nursultan Nazarbayev (Dani Popescu), who has chosen Borat to embark on a mission and deliver Johnny the monkey to Donald Trump.  Johnny is Kazakah’s most famous porn actor. The Premier is hoping to redeem Kazakh as a nation from the previous dishonor that was inflicted because of Borak’s previous adventure.  However, Borat cannot deliver Johnny to Trump because in the last adventure he took a dump in front of and on Trump’s International Hotel and Tower.  Instead, Borat ops to give Johnny as a gift to Michael Pense.  Nazarbayev accepts the alternative.

In the meanwhile, upon Borat’s release, he returns home in hopes of reuniting with his family but finds instead, that his neighbor and arch-nemesis Nursultan Tulyakbay (Miroslav Tolj) has taken over his entire family and has also stolen his home.  Borat also learns he has a 15-year-old daughter Tutar Sagdiyev (Maria Bakalova) who lives in a cage out in the barn. After greeting Tutar, who begs Borat to let her accompany him to the US&A (America),  he turns her down and leaves. Taking a circuitous route by cargo ship to the US, Borat arrives in Galveston, TX.  Once there he finds himself a celebrity, everyone recognizes him, so he purchases many disguises but it doesn’t help.  When Borat goes to open the crate Johnny the monkey was shipped in, he finds his daughter Tutar instead.  According to Tutar, she ate Johnny.  Troubled, Borat sends a fax to Premier Nazarbayev with the news that Johnny is no longer alive. The Premier responds by ordering Borat to find another way to please Mike Pense or be executed.  Remembering Tutar is there, he offers to give her to Pense as a gift.  Premier Nazarbayev accepts but warns Borat if he fails, he will be executed.

Borat realizes Tutar must undergo a make-over complete with larger boobs and afterward she would need to be presented at a debutante ball. What happens at the debutante presentation was disgusting, foul, and unfunny.  After being ejected from the ball, Borat learns Pence is at a CPAC convention nearby.  He disguises himself as Trump to get into the convention but is thrown out after being recognized as an imposter.  Premier Nazarbayev is outraged and tells Borat to return home to be executed however, he is able to convince the Premier that a change of plan would allow him to give his daughter to Julie Rudiani who is partial to larger breast.  Premier Nazarbayev agrees but again warns Borat that failure will end in his execution.

Despite the absurdity of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, the story was semi-quasi sweet and had a lot of potentials to be much better than it was.  Inflicting scenes that horned in on the most private of privates really spoiled this movie — Borat seems to have a penis obsession. There had to be more than five scenes with growing, grown, or static penis, none of which, in my opinion, were funny. The grossest scene happened at the debutante ball.  I won’t convey the contents in case someone might want to see this movie.  The film was used to cleverly humiliate Trump and his administration, which got some laughs.  Tutor finding herself was heartfelt and addressed many issues concerning women in the Middle East.  Borat gets into so many situations, I couldn’t begin to write about.  If you should see this movie, you’re in for an outrageous ride. On Rotten Tomatoes, 85% of 295 critics positively reviewed the film, with an average rating of 7.2 out of 10. The site’s critic’s consensus reads: “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm proves Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedic creation remains a sharp tool for exposing the most misguided—or outright repugnant—corners of American culture. The film received three nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, winning for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Baron Cohen and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. FYI: Mike Pence and Rudy Giuliani appear as themselves without their permission. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is streaming on Prime Video — Check It Out!

[BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM is Oscar-nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best: Supporting Actress, and Adapted Screenplay Totaling 2 Nominations]



A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a drama directed by Marielle Heller and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, inspired by the 1998 article “Can You Say … Hero?” by Tom Junod, published in Esquire.
The movie focuses on the relationship between Fred Rogers and Tom Junod.  I’m so glad I decided to see this movie — it’s better than you think!


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood focuses on journalist, Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) whose life is anything but perfect. It’s 1998 and Lloyd is married to Andrea Vogel (Susan Kelchi-Watson), a public attorney and new mother. The two are struggling to maintain their marriage, mostly because of Lloyd’s cynical and pessimistic attitude. While he’s still employed by Esquire magazine, he’s on the verge of being let go of because he never has anything good to say about the people he’s written about. He’s given a new assignment and maybe his last, to interview and write about Fred Rogers of the acclaimed children’s show, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. The article has to be 400 words and categorized as a piece about heroes. Mr. Rogers was the only person who would allow Lloyd to interview him, which of course put Lloyd in his usual pessimistic state of mind.

You may believe Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood was just a corny children’s show, but it taught some valuable lessons that were more than helpful to an impressionable child as well as an uninformed adult. Lloyd was estranged from his father who cheated on his mother before leaving her as she was dying of cancer. He also left his underaged children who went into foster care. When his father Jerry Vogel (Chris Cooper), showed up at Lloyd’s sister’s (Lorraine (Tammy Blanchard) wedding with the girlfriend he cheated on his wife with, (Dorothy (Wendy Makkeva) they get into a fistfight after an exchange of unpleasantries. Broken and angry, Lloyd travels to the WQED studio in Pittsburgh to interview Fred Rogers. Lloyd couldn’t and wouldn’t believe that Fred was legitimate. He told his wife Andrea, he had met the nicest man in the universe or the best con.

Upon meeting Fred, Lloyd discovered that Fred Rogers cared more about the interviewer than being interviewed. Fred worked with troubled children and their families to help them cope with depression, tragedy and death. He loved to take on dysfunctional families in order to teach them that there’s a better way to live. While many of the events in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood were true, like Fred’s friendship with Lloyd, whose real name is Tom Junod, whom Fred taught to appreciate himself and Mr. Roger’s use of puppets and his studio set up to attract a younger audience in order to make a better presentation.

I didn’t think I would enjoy A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood but I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t like the made-up parts of the story like the fact Tom Junod’s name was changed to Lloyd Vogel, I can’t figure why or the made-up wedding of Lloyd’s sister that never happened. The acting and the story were entertaining and since A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on a true story about Fred Roger’s and his relationship with Lloyd Vogel, I must say this film stayed focused on the prize. I highly recommend A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood to all, which grossed $61 million in the United States and Canada, and $1.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $62.2 million, against a production budget of $25 million. The aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 95%, based on 277 reviews, with an average rating of 8.18/10. The website’s critical consensus reads: “Much like the beloved TV personality that inspired it, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood offers a powerfully affecting message about acceptance and understanding.” Lloyd’s 10,000-word article, titled “Can You Say … Hero?”, is published as Esquire’s cover story. Check It Out!

[A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD is Oscar-nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Tom Hanks) — Totaling 1 Oscar nomination]


THE POST (2017) – My rating: 9/10

The Post is a political thriller directed and produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. Set in the early 1970s, The Post depicts the true story of the journalists from The Washington Post and their attempts to publish and expose the Pentagon Papers, classified documents regarding undisclosed information about the involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War. It was a very long war with no real theme which cost us a great many men. We the people have always wanted to know why. Still unsure of the logic behind this senseless war, only one thing is certain…

In 1965 , State Dept. military analyst Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) accompanies U.S. troops in combat to document progress of U.S. military activities in the Vietnam region for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood). On the return flight, McNamara expresses to Ellsberg and President Lyndon Johnson his view that the war in Vietnam is hopeless. Years later, now working for a civilian military contractor, Ellsberg surreptitiously photocopies classified reports documenting the progress of the ongoing Vietnam War, dating back to the Truman administration. He leaks these documents, which detail more than 20 years of clandestine U.S. activities and frank admissions that the war has been going poorly, to reporters at The New York Times.

Heiress Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), who succeeded her father as owner of the Washington Post, and whose husband committed suicide, is conflicted over preparations for the newspaper’s IPO, a move she recognizes as important to strengthening the paper, but fears losing family control. She lacks confidence in her ability as a woman to lead the organization, frequently “overruled” by more assertive men who advise or work for her, such as editor in chief Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and board member Arthur Parsons (Bradley Whitford).

Bradlee notices Times’ investigative reporter Neil Sheehan’s lack of publication, as of late and concludes he’s on to something big. Bradlee tries to find out what it is but does not. Meanwhile, McNamara, who is Katherine’s long term friend, confides in her that he is about to be the subject of unflattering coverage by the New York Times that will include long term public deception. However, the series is halted by a count injunction.

Washington Post assistant editor Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) tracks down Ellsberg as the source for the leak, who provides Bagdikian with copies of the same material given to the Times. A small team of Post reporters sort through the disorganized papers, trying to piece together parts of the larger story. The Post’s lawyers become aware of the project and advise against publishing the material, lest the Nixon administration bring criminal charges against them.

Graham fields the input and advice of the men around her, including McNamara, Bradlee, and trusted Post chairman Fritz Beebe (Tracy Letts), agonizing over the decision of whether to publish. If the legal fallout goes badly, she could destroy the newspaper she sees as a family legacy, but if they are successful, it could instead establish it as an important journalistic institution. She chooses to run the story.

The results of this story is well known but I decided not to post any more of the story for those who don’t know. At the 75th Golden Globe Awards, the film received six nominations: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actress – Drama for Streep, Best Actor – Drama for Hanks, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score. The Post is an intense film and is well acted.

[THE POST received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and Best Actress (Meryl Streep)]


SULLY (2016) – My rating: 8.5/10

sullyBased on a true story, that I actually remember, this rendition is as good as it gets. In January of 2009, US Airways, Flight 1549, in route to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, lost two engines right after take off from LaGuardia (LGA) Airport at an altitude of only 2,818 feet, because a bird strike.  In this case, a flock of Canada Geese flying south flew into the engine of the plane. The goose or bird strike rendered the plane too damaged to make it back to LGA airport or to Teterboro, a nearby airport in New Jersey. The Captain, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and his First Officer, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) were forced to land in the Hudson River. To make matters worst, an Arctic air mass that engulfed the region caused the coldest temperature of the season. The wind chill was 2 degrees and the water temperature was 41 degrees, raising the risk of “cold shock,” a condition in which people lose the use of their arms and legs, usually drowning within 5 minutes.  Because all 155 passengers survived, “Sully” was called a hero and praised for his actions.  The Safety Board (NTSB) had other ideas and tried to accuse “Sully” of pilot error.  Through Flight Simulators, the NTSB found that “Sully” could have made it to one of the nearby airports without crashing the plane or exposing the passengers to the dangers of the Hudson River.


Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

To find out what follows, I highly recommend that you go to see the movie for answers.  This was a really good one.  Kudos to Clint Eastwood, who directed “Sully” — he has turned out to be one hell of a director.  I enjoyed “Sully” and found the overall performances to be brilliant. As usual, Tom Hanks gave a riveting delivery of his character, complete with PTSD.  Charles Porter (Mike O’Malley) was excellent as one of the head NTSB investigators whose performance truly dominated the film.



BRIDGE OF SPIES (2015) – My rating: 8.5/10

BridgeOfSpiesIf you’re looking for a good story and with quality acting rolled into an excellent movie, Bridge of spies is it. Tom Hanks has done it again — he manages to get involved with some of the best movies in Hollywood. Directed by Steven Spielberg and written by the Coen brothers, Bridge of Spies will probably get an Oscar nod. Based on a true story, Bridge of Spies features life in the late 50s when the US was still engaged in a cold war with the Soviet Union and after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for being spies in 1953. Unlike the Rosenberg’s, Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) was not a US citizen but from the Soviet Union. He was an artist who lived in Brooklyn. After a search of his room turned up evidence that supported the claim that he was in fact a spy for the KGB, he was arrested and tried as a Russian spy. In good faith, the CIA appointed a top attorney to represent Rudolf named James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), a lawyer who specializes in insurance settlements. While no one took the trial or his defense seriously, James Donovan did. Battling to give Rudolf the best defense he could, James was up against anger, threats and violence from everywhere over his representation of the much hated Russian spy. Of course, he lost the trial and the sentence for a death penalty was before Chief Justice Earl Warren (Edward James Hyland).  James ended up going to the judge’s home to convince him to sentence Rudolf to 30 years in prison instead of the electric chair. When asked why, James said, he might come in handy as an exchange one day.  As it turned out, a pilot named Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) was shot down over Soviet territory while taking unauthorized pictures for the military. He was captured and tried. In the meanwhile an American economics graduate student, Frederic Pryor (Will Rogers) visits his German girlfriend in East Berlin just as the Berlin Wall is being built. He tries to bring her back into West Berlin, but is stopped by Stasi agents and arrested as a spy.  This gave the US a lot to negotiate. Again, James was used in this spy scenario to set up meetings and negotiate between Russia, Germany and the US. This is a very touching story as well as enlightening.  There’s a lot of history here.  I think this movie is a hit and worthy of your time and a movie ticket to see it unfold on the big screen.  The cast is brilliant.  Alan Alda plays Thomas Watters, Jr., James Donovan’s boss at the insurance company and Amy Ryan plays Mary Donovans, James’ wife.  Check it out if you can.

[BRIDGE OF SPIES is nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Original Score, Production Design, Sound Mixing and Original Screenplay]


ALL IS LOST (2013) – My rating: 8/10

AllisLostAfter watching All is Lost, I agree that this movie should have gotten some kind of an Oscar nod.  I believe Robert Redford only had 2 speaking occasions and is the only cast member in the movie.  All is Lost is about an older, experienced seaman who’s yacht collided with a shipping container at sea.  The entire film shows the desperation and experience necessary to survive a huge, gaping hole left by the container, a severe storm, shark infested waters and limited food and contaminated drinking water.  Unlike Tom Hanks in Cast Away, I found All is Lost interesting and intense.  I was not too happy with the ending but over all, I found the movie worthy.  Despite one cast member, no dialogue and a depressing subject, I think this movie was well done and I commend Robert Redford and J. C. Chandor (director) for a job well done.

[ALL IS LOST is nominated for Achievement in Sound Editing]

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (2013) – My rating: 8/10

CaptainPhillipsWhat can I say about Tom Hanks.  He’s a brilliant actor who made me believe he was really captain of the Maersk Alabama.  This movie was intense and mystifying.  I was so impressed with the actors who played the Simian  pirates.  Their story was heart felt and scary.  Based on a true story, this was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.  Before the attack, Captain Phillips demanded the anti-piracy plan, now used by all ships per the International Maritime Organization, be implemented.  Should pirates get too close, the crew should cut the lights and power and lock themselves below deck.  I can only imagine what it felt like to be held at gun point and locked in an engine room of 130 degrees.  The pirates were offered $30 thousand dollars from the ship’s safe but they felt that was useless bounty.  The Maersk crew was in hiding and the pirates insisted that they were going to find them and use all as hostages.  Nothing worked out as planed.  Tom Hanks ended up on a Maersk Lifeboat with the pirates.  Meanwhile, in real life, I understand that Maersk Line and the Waterman Steamship Corp. is being sued for almost $50 million, alleging “willful, wanton and conscious disregard for their safety.”  Their lives were in danger by sailing too close to the Simian boarder with the knowledge that pirates were on the prowl.  See this movie and determine for yourself.

CAST AWAY (2000) – My rating: 7/10

CastAwayTom Hanks’ performance was excellent but the movie was boring. I’m not sure what the message was. Cast Away offered little action and not much entertainment and certainly no message. Helen Hunt’s role was minimal at best. She did a good acting job but overall Cast Away is insignificant. As much as I love Tom Hanks — this was too much of him.  I was bored most of the movie and found nothing new or entertaining about Cast Away.  I recommend waiting for the video!

The LADYKILLERS (2004) – My Rating: 7/10

The Awful Truth!
TheLadyKillersThere has been a lot of hype about this movie. I’ve seen Tom Hanks on a few talk shows promoting the heck out of `The Ladykillers’. While the movie was funny, Tom Hanks’ character was quite annoying. He talked way too much and the words, while somewhat funny, were not funny enough to overlook or overcome the constant chatter. I actually found most of the dialog down right boring.

This unlikely crew of bandits had a most brilliant plan, which was well executed. However, when it came to the simplest task (the one that really counted), no one could accomplish it. A comedy of errors led to more and more errors which led to the biggest error, The Ladykillers!

As usual, Tom Hanks’ performance raised the bar but it wasn’t enough to raise this movie above it’s borderline tale. Ladykillers was barely entertaining. I thought George Wallace would have been better casted as part of the gang, rather than the sheriff — he’s a very funny comedian. I particularly enjoyed the performance of J. K. Simmons as Garth Pancake. His voice alone was almost worth the watch.

I recommend you wait for this movie to come out on DVD.