Ford v Ferrari

I don't know a caliper from a brake assembly, but I enjoyed this movie. We see Henry Ford II (called "Deuce" by his employees) fuming because that dinky little car manufacturer in Italy outstrips the gigantic car company that helped America win WWII!

We see a race car driver realize that his tricky heart won't allow him to race any more, so he turns to the design side of the sport. Then we see a race car driver realize that his tricky personality stands in the way of being accepted as a driver in a high-status automobile race in Europe. Corporate America wants a Ford-type driver driving a Ford.

Director James Mangold ("The Wolverine" and "Kate and Leopold"), working with a clever script by Jason Keller plus Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, bring us race-car driving up close and personal.

Part of his talented cast:
  • Matt Damon ("The Martian") Carroll Shelby has the smarts and the experience to create winning race cars. He also has the loyalty of a friend and the patriotism of an American. Watch him put his money on the line!
  • Christian Bale ("The Big Short") Ken Miles is incredulous when his long-time friend Carroll Shelby says he plans to build a Ford to beat a Ferrari. By the way, he views car engines as living things, so he talks to them.
  • Catriona Balfe ("Outlander") Watch Mollie Miles when her husband and his friend have a knock-down, drag-out fist fight in her front yard.
  • Noah Jupe ("A Quiet Place") When Peter Miles' dad describes the racetrack at Le Mans, we in the audience are educated. Good device!
  • Jon Bernthal ("The Peanut Butter Falcon") When Lee Iacocca takes up the challenge to develop the Ford Mustang, history is being made.
  • Tracy Letts ("The Post") Henry Ford II is determined to show Ferrari that his cars will no longer be looked down on, but Deuce has never ridden in a race car.
  • Josh Lucas ("Sweet Home Alabama") Leo Beebe is just smarmy enough to illustrate the worst of the corporate "suits" who make life miserable for race car lovers.
Expect no sweaty bodies, drugs, alcohol or blowie uppie stuff but a LOT of vehicular mayhem. Despite all the motor oil, fumes and racket, this PG-13 script is easy to follow and the issues are clearly defined. One thing: If you have hearing problems, closed captions are a MUST!

These are real people, so stay for the closing credits where you will be treated to the rest of their stories.
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Start your engines:
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The Good Liar

This title is NOT false advertising. We are in the hands of an excellent liar.

Director Bill Condon ("Beauty and the Beast") working from a script by Jeffrey Hatcher ("Mr. Holmes"), which in turn is based on the novel by Nicholas Searle, delivers the goods! Of course he has the able assistance of a top-notch cast as they transport us into a really good con game, high stakes and excellent performances. We watch as two people of a certain age make a tentative stab at on-line dating.

Part of Condon's cast:
  • Ian McKellen ("Lord of the Rings") is Ray Courtnay, an experienced professional, zeroing in on a wealthy widow.
  • Helen Mirren ("Catherine the Great") Betty McLeish is that recent widow. Her only son died in a car crash, but she has a grandson who pops in and out as he pleases. 
  • Jim Carter ("Downton Abbey") Vincent is Ray's partner, as they pull one slick con after another. 
  • Russell Tovey ("The Lady in the Van") Stephan is Betty's skeptical grandson. He dislikes Ray on sight and makes no bones about it.
We are also introduced to flashbacks to 1943, which seem such a contrast, they are almost as though they are from another film. But they shed light on the current situation.

As always, Helen Mirren is flawless, Jim Carter's voice resonates, and Ian McKellen can do such abrupt personality switches it is stunning.

This R-rated thriller has one gunshot, no vehicular mayhem, no blowie uppie stuff and no sweaty bodies. I think the rating is due to one teeny peek at a pole dancer plus the need for mature understanding. Be prepared for a satisfying conclusion.
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Take a look:
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