Reel Reviews: Battles for box office supremacy

By on November 20, 2019

‘Ford v Ferrari’

The era is the 1960s, and American car builder and designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) is tapped by a revenge-seeking Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) to build a racecar that will compete against the Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race the Italian builder has dominated. Shelby is the lone American to have won the race, and since removing himself from behind the wheel, has created a small line of custom, sporting vehicles based on Ford construction.

Shelby’s team of mechanics and engineers includes friend and dedicated driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), an English wrencher living in the U.S. The corporation that is Ford almost causes its own demise as Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal, “Baby Driver”) and Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas, “Glory Road”) force themselves into the process.

This movie is not just for car fans. History buffs will love it. Pop culture freaks will geek out. And those who just love a touching drama will find “Ford v Ferrari” beyond satisfying. And, Batman who? To say Bale is a superb actor is simply an understatement. He’s cemented his standing as one of my favorite actors of all-time with this role.

My biggest problem about this movie is the title itself, which does its main character (Ford Motor Company) a disservice by forcing the role of Ferrari into greater focus simply, I assume, to draw on the prestige and popularity of the Ferrari name. The movie is more Ford versus Ford (or Ford vs. Colby) than Ford vs. Ferrari. And actually, the real shining element of this film is the story of Ken Miles. His name should be the highlight of this film.

‘Midway’

Being so close to the honorable pomp and circumstance of Veterans Day, and the fact I am a Navy veteran who served aboard an aircraft carrier, I find it hard to talk about the atrocious excuse for writing that created “Midway,” the theatrical telling of one of the greatest U.S. naval victories (and sacrifices) in the history of our nation.

Writer Wes Tooke’s foray into screenwriting should be his last, as this film is overflowing with pitiful, sappy, and overly cliché bits of dialogue strung together through an incomplete storyline based on actual events barely saved — and I mean deathbed saved — by a half-decent effort from seasoned actors like Woody Harrelson and Dennis Quaid and a serious exertion from the special effects department. This is a movie to be seen on the big screen due to its visual effects.

“Midway” follows the story of war hero Dick Best (Ed Skrein, “Alita: Battle Angel”) who sees action at the battle of Midway. His tale of glory mingles with storylines featuring Rear Admiral Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson), Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (Harrelson), Fleet Admiral William “Bull” Halsey (Quaid), and pilot (and eventual Rear Admiral) C. Wade McClusky Jr. (Luke Evans).

The movie captures the action in the Pacific theater during World War II from the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the successful completion of Midway operations and is interjected with bits of historic trivia.

Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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