Movie Reviews

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Film & Wine Club

the-shawshank-redemption-movie-review-posterDirector: Frank Darabont

Genre: Drama, Crime

Runtime: 142 Minutes

Main Cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, Mark Rolston, James Whitmore, Jeffrey DeMunn, Larry Brandenburg

Plot: Based on a short story by Stephen King – upstanding banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sent to prison in the 1940s for the murder of his wife and her lover. Whilst there he puts his accountancy work into practice and befriends several inmates, including a man named Red (Morgan Freeman), known to be able to smuggle things inside for a small fee.

My Thoughts: Time for another Film & Wine Club post! Last week it was finally one of my Dad’s movies picked out of the hat, The Shawshank Redemption. Cue a groan from my Mum but to be fair, I’ve seen this movie once before and it’s also IMDB’s #1 movie of all time, so we can’t poke fun at Dad this time around. It’s tough to watch a movie for the first time that’s been given such a high level of praise and keep your thoughts unbiased, I couldn’t put enough into words the first time I watched it but a second viewing really helped.

Simply put, it’s just fantastic story-telling. It’s a king-sized movie but the time feels like nothing at all, it’s so easy to just fall into Andy’s story and want to know what happens next, is he really guilty, will he ever get out? With a movie this good, it’s easy to see why so many other stories set in prison take inspiration from The Shawshank Repemption. I don’t remember the last time I felt such a strong connection with a character – the anger at the guards and the way they treat Andy, the pure joy seeing Andy, Red and the others enjoying a cold beer on the roof, just all the emotions!

It’s the ultimate story of hope, and I guess even a second viewing wasn’t enough for me to get many thoughts into words. I think my Dad got his own little bit of redemption for picking this movie, and he’ll need all the goodwill he can get because the next movie picked is another of his choices, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid! It’s a movie I’ve wanted to see for a really long time now, but I’ve never been excited enough about it to pick it over anything else, so our little club is the perfect opportunity to finally see it!


Best Bit: There are so many great moments but nothing can top the ending really, can it? Finding out how Andy did what he did, seeing Red finally get what he’s been working so hard on, and the final conclusion? It’s just perfect in every way.

Worst Bit: The introduction of Tommy (Gil Bellows) was such a pivotal part of the story, and whilst we were all wondering of Andy was guilty, Tommy gives us the answer. What happens after that? The rage!

Fun Trivia: Andy and Red’s opening chat in the prison yard, in which Red is throwing a baseball, took nine hours to shoot. Morgan Freeman threw the baseball for the entire nine hours without a word of complaint. He showed up for work the next day with his left arm in a sling.

My Rating: A full 5 out of 5 harmonicas that Andy had to get through Red’s competitor.


Movie Reviews

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)

hitmans-wifes-bodyguard-movie-review-poster-2021Director: Patrick Hughes

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 99 Minutes

Main Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Morgan Freeman, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Gary Oldman, Tom Hopper, Caroline Goodall, Blake Ritson

Plot: Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) is on sabbatical after the events of the first movie, he’s taken a vacation in Capri (like the pants) and he’s given up guns. That all comes crashing down on him very quickly when Sonia Kincaid (Salma Hayek) turns up, guns blazing, to recruit him to help free Sonia’s captured husband Darius (Samuel L. Jackson).

My Thoughts: These big movie releases are really sneaking up on me. It felt like winter and lockdown 3 were never going to end and now here we are, slap bang in the middle of summer! It’s always good to see Ryan Reynolds on the big screen though, even if the movie isn’t good I know I’m in for some fun. Which, as it turns out, is exactly how last night panned out for me. The original Hitman’s Bodyguard movie was decent, but nothing new, and this sequel is…eh. The plot sucks, let me be blunt. It’s textbook comedy/crime/action down to the letter, but the main trio make it worth it.

You’ll be bitterly disappointed if you were hoping for a clever storyline with some jaw-dropping action scenes, but if you’re up for an hour and a half of Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson kicking ass and being sarcastic a$$holes, then this is the movie for you. Ryan Reynolds gets to be his usual sarcastic self, Samuel L. Jackson gets to say his favourite ‘M’ word at least a dozen times, and Salma Hayek is surprisingly the biggest potty mouth of them all, and they have great chemistry together. I would actually be up for a third movie if it ever happened just for them.

It’s a shame that the plot sucked, but I wouldn’t trade the humour for a better storyline. The movie doesn’t try to be anything more than a fun night at the cinema with a bucket of popcorn. It follows that stereotypical kidnap, revenge, someone you thought was good turned out to be bad, heroes save the day business. All in all, worth a watch if you know what to expect!


Best Bit: Ryan Reynolds just has no shame, does he? I laughed so hard when his character got thrown into a giant wall of Aviation gin (his own company, if you didn’t already know). I was expecting references to Wrexham Football Club and Mint Mobile to come next. Or did they happen and I just missed them?

Worst Bit: So, when The Change-Up (2011) was released, it was my favourite comedy ever for a long time and I watched it a lot. I mean, A LOT. So much so that Alan Arkin will now forever be known as Ryan Reynolds’ Dad in my mind. So you can imagine my excitement when the mystery built over who Michael Bryce’s father was! The actual reveal was even better though, Ii have to admit.

Fun Trivia: Ryan Reynolds has said of being slapped around in this movie: “In Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, I’m slapped in the face twice by Salma Hayek and once by Samuel L. Jackson. For the record, it was Salma who didn’t pull the punches. Not even once. I can still feel the sharp sting of her tiny hand working its way into my soft Hollywood cheekbones. May God have mercy on her soul.”

My Rating: 3 out of 5 guns that Michael will absolutely not touch, because he’s on sabbatical!