Tomorrow When The War Began (2010)

Director: Stuart Beattie

Writer:  Stuart Beattie (Screenplay) John Marsden (Novel)

Starring: Caltlin Stasey, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Lincoln Lewis, Deniz Akdeniz, Phoebe Tonkin, Chris Pang, Ashleigh Cummings, Andrew Ryan

Story: When their country is invaded and their families are taken, eight unlikely high school teenagers band together to fight.

Verdict

Story: The story follows eight high school teens who after returning from a weekend away find their homes abandoned and their town empty. In search for answers they find that an unknown enemy has invaded them. They could run and hide but they decided to stay and fight for their friends, families, town and country. The story never really gives too much away of the bigger picture on what is going on which is a huge plus keeping you guessing what will happen. All the characters play out well to fit each situation in the story by keeping the teenagers innocence through out.  (9/10)

Cast: Caltlin Stacey as Ellie Linton – Ellie arranges the camping trip with her friends and takes the role of the leader of the group once they return and see what has happened. She is also the first one of the group to know the feeling of what it is like to take another humans life in warfare. She is a loyal figure always trying to make sure her friends are safe even if it means risking her own life. Played brilliantly by Caltlin who fulfils every emotion her character needs to with relative ease. Star Performance (10/10)

Rachel Hurd-Wood as Corrie Mackenzie – Corrie is Ellie’s best friend and the camping trip is a bigger plan for her to spend more time with her starting romance with Kevin. She is their to support Ellie through some of her tougher times. Strong supporting performance. (8/10)

Lincoln Lewis as Kevin Holmes – The new romance is Corrie’s life, also the sportsman of the group. Kevin goes through the most transitions as the story unfolds making his character very interesting to see what he will do next. Great performance from the young actor plays each scene out very well. (9/10)

Deniz Akdeniz as Homer Yannos – The joker of the group who is always out to impress for a laugh. Coming from a poor family he is almost seems like the most prepared for living in the condition that have been created. Another good supporting performance. (8/10)

Phoebe Tonkin as Fiona Maxwell – The opposite to Homer here, typical city girl who can’t even go camping without a couple of bangs of make up. She also comes off as a bit of a bimbo but that tag falls off after they return from their trip. Good supporting role with added emotion, which come out very strong. (9/10)

Chris Pang as Lee Takkam – Works with his family and a local restaurant and doesn’t seem to be friends with the people on the trip but Ellie’s choice to invite him along. Doesn’t really offer much to the story other than a love interest for Ellie, but this could be to add to the mystery about his character for a later chapter in the series. (7/10)

Ashleigh Cummings as Robyn Mathers – Part of a religious family she has to talk her way on to the trip to start with. Robyn becomes the most interesting character once the group return home because of her religious stance and we get left with the will she help her friends, family and country by going against God’s will. Great performance. Favourite Character (9/10)

 

Director: The director creates great atmospheric pieces with urban warfare without soldiers showing how far people will go to fight for the people and place they love. (10/10)

Action: The couple of chases are nice touch but most of the action comes after some very suspenseful scenes. (9/10)

Thriller: As soon as they return from their trip you know this is going be thrilling and this delivers all the suspense you need. (10/10)

Sound: The sounds of the war vehicles and weapons in an abandon town give a very real effect to what is going on  (8/10)

Settings: Some good Australian settings countryside, forest and the very real torn apart town. (9/10)

Suggestion: Going into this I wasn’t expect much, after watching this I would recommended to anyone to watch. (10/10)

Best Part: The sequences near the end with the bridge.

Worst Part: I’m going to have to wait or read the rest of the series.

Overall: I knew what I was going to be watching and I didn’t think this would be that good, but with great character development, atmosphere and story this turned into one of my favourite films of the year. Having No big names in it help a lot because you are not expecting anyone to do certain things, while this works both ways because you don’t know what each character will be doing next. This is a great introduction into the collection of books that touch a very real subject that could happen suddenly to anyone.

Rating 93%

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The Roommate (2011)

Director: Christian E. Christiansen, Richard Robertson

Writer: Sonny Malhi, Chris Bylsma, Nick Bylsma, Richard Robertson (Screenplay)

Starring: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Aly Michalka, Billy Zane

Story: College student Sara finds that her new roommate Rebecca has an obsession with her, which quickly turns violent.

Verdict

Story: It’s a classic ABC thriller where the new roommate starts to become obsessed with other roommate. It takes it’s time really working up as we only see what Rebecca does without Sara really every reacting to anything happening or finding out what does happen. The final is where things really heat up with tidy conclusions very similar to what happens in The Resident. Simple story to follow and worth a view. (7/10)

Cast: Leighton Meester as Rebecca – The roommate who never seems to actually go to college, who slowly starts to become over protective of Sara, which later turns into an obsession. Leighton puts in a very creepy performance and it is convincing Star Performance (9/10)

Minka Kelly as Sara – The young production design student who seems to get lucky with her new roommate, just out of a relationship she meets a drummer to start a new one. Does a very nice job in what she has to do without really standing out too much.  (7/10)

 

Cam Gigandet as Stephen – The new love interest of Sara who helps her to adapt to the new environment. Only really having screen time with Sarah in what was a heavily criticised year for the young actor this was a simple performance again not really standing out. (6/10)

 

Thriller: As we learn early on about Rebecca we get to see how things unfold which does add to the suspense in the story, but a lack of early thrills could have been more to help the higher level of suspense in the final parts. (6/10)

Suggestion: I would suggest to people to give it a watch but I think it would be hard to suggest someone to go out of their way to watch this.  (6/10)

Best Part: The conclusion

Worst Part: The cat’s fate

 

Similar Too: The Resident

Overall: This is an average thriller that doesn’t really get to the edge of your seat stuff, which is kind of important in a thriller, but it does have a great performance from Leighton Meester as creepy villain.

Rating 61%

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Director: Simon West

Writer: Patrick Massell, John Zinman (Screenplay) Sara B. Cooper, Mike Werb, Michael Colleary (Story)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Daniel Craig, Chris Barrie

Story: Video Game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artefacts.

Verdict

Story: All treasure hunter type action films have a lot to live up to after the first three Indiana Jones films, but having a fan boy base from the video games it had a lot to live up too. Compared to what the fans would want from the game it doesn’t really excel but as an individual film about a tomb raider it turns out very watchable. The story follows Lara all over the world in search to artefacts with friendships being started, finished, betrayed as well as rescued. (8/10)

Cast: Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft – The rich adventurer who is in search for what happened to her father. If any action role was cast perfectly this has to be one with Jolie being a perfect match for video game heroine Lara Croft. Star Performance (9/10)

Iain Glen as Manfred Powell – Working for the illuminarte to find the alignment position on Earth to be able to control time. Has a history with Lara’s father, good cold-hearted villain. (8/10)

 

Daniel Craig as Alex West – A rival tomb raider with a history with Lara, now works for Manfred against Lara but their mutual respect stays through out. Typical Craig performance where he stumbles through with out doing anything eye catching. Poor Performance (5/10)

 

Jon Voight as Lord Richard Croft – The adventurer father who was lost on one of his quest and appears to help guide Lara in her dreams. With limited screen time it’s hard to really judge the performance. (7/10)

 

Noah Taylor as Bryce and Chris Barrie as Hillary –  The tech guy and the butler for Lara usually have a few good one liners in them which gives them both good time on screen and well worth waiting for there next line. Favourite Character Award (8/10)

 

Director: Simon West creates some good action sequences to make the story flow from start to finish and a good pace. (8/10)

Action: With some original action including a rather interesting rope trick in a mansion, chases through the jungle, temples and ice caves all will keep you on the edge of the seat. (9/10)

Settings: Lots of different setting all offering something new to the story. (8/10)

Suggestion: For a good relax action film this is one good one well worth watching so I would be suggesting this to any action fan. (8/10)

Best Part: The rope mansion scene with snippets from the Butler and tech guy.

Worst Part: The comparisons to the video game as a stand alone film it is just as good if not better than all new generation action adventure films.

Favourite Quote: After Lara asks Bryce about a clock ticking Bryce goes ‘Oh, It’s one of those ticking clocks’.

Overall: It’s no Indiana Jones but it is a lot better than the National Treasure films. Angelina as Lara is a huge boost for its appeal and will definitely get the boys interested. If you want an extremely watchable action adventure film this is a good one to go with.

Rating 78%

The Hunger Games (2012)

Director: Gary Ross

Writer: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray (Screenplay), Suzanne Collins (Novel)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley

Story: Set in a future where the capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television. Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match

Verdict

Story: Having a brave subject matter with kids killing each other could be considered difficult to tell, but this story comes over very well. Yes there is the violence but instead of all the violence being graphic its all very much trimmed down to let you work out yourself. I can’t judge how well it matches up to the book as I have never read it but as the story on film this is very good (9/10)

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen – Taking over from her sister in the Hunger Games she becomes the reluctant hero, not one of the games fans but she has to overcome all the odds if she wants to be victories. Jennifer puts in yet another quality performance continuing what is sure to be a huge career of quality performances. Star Performance (9/10)

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mallark – The boy selection of District 12 who comes over as the weaker of the two, He also becomes one of the most interesting characters being you can’t tell what he will do next. Josh gives a solid performance but not as good as Jennifer’s. (8/10)

 

Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinkel –  The leader of district 12 who sets out to create the best image for the District. Slightly over the top performance but otherwise good from Elizabeth as the eccentric leader. (8/10)

 

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy –  The mentor of the two representatives of District 12 and guy who can help them win and look good doing it. Giving he has must of the best lines and good chuckle lines I think he does a very good job. Favourite Character (9/10)

 

Director: Gary Ross gives us a very good film her (9/10)

Action: With solid action scenes of chases for survival without being silly over the top having a rather naturally feel to them. (9/10)

Thriller: Where most of the action turns into thriller material from the moment the Games start this is edge of your seat stuff. (10/10)

Sound: I have to say the haunting sound of the cannon going off after one of the participants dies is brilliantly done. (10/10)

Settings: A good woodland setting adds to the atmosphere of the Games (9/10)

Suggestion: Knowing most people have already made up their minds about seeing or not seeing this I would have to say anyone still thinking about seeing it should be watching it (9/10)

Best Part: The arrow-shooting scene to show off Katniss abilities.

Worst Part: Knowing its part of a series of novel sort of ruins the ending.

Similar Too: Battle Royale, The Running Man

Overall: Set as a friendlier version of Battle Royale but being more about overcoming your fears for your district. Sadly it will be called the new Harry Potter or Twilight but this one is far superior to those franchises. I will be looking forward to the next chapters in the series, which will surely be made.

Rating 91%

Tower Heist (2011)

Director: Brett Ratner

Writer: Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson (Screenplay) Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Ted Griffin (Story)

Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Stephen Henderson, Judd Hirsch, Tea Leoni, Michael Pena, Gabourey Sidibe

Story: When a group of hard working guys find out they’ve fallen victim to a wealthy business man’s ponzi scheme, they conspire to rob his high-rise residence.

Verdict

Story: A good old fashion revenge heist the ABC is done very well it’s more to do with how all these different characters come together to complete there part in the heist. The whole story is told very well and very enjoyable. (8/10)

Cast: Ben Stiller as Josh Kovacs the tower manager who knows everyone in the building staff and residences and how they run their lives. Josh is responsible for the employees losing their pensions. He also arranges for the team of guys who have been victim to get their money back. Stiller gives his usual performance without really shinning but with this offers the support cast a lot to work with to be more noticeable. (7/10)

Eddie Murphy as Slide The quick talking thief who is asked to help on the robbery of the money by Josh knowing that he has a reputation as a criminal. Murphy is almost transported back to the 80’s with this performance and about time to for him hopefully he can do this more often. Star Performance (9/10)

 

Casey Affleck as Charlie A man more worried about his soon to be born child but joins the team to get the money back also very nervous about the whole plan. Seemingly a step back for Casey but also a step into comedy genre keeps his star rising. (8/10)

 

Alan Alda as Arthur Shaw The man accused of of stealing money from investors and very cold about how he went about it. Great performance of a man who thinks he is above the law. (8/10)

 

Tea Leoni as Special Agent Claire Denham The FBI agent determined to catch Arthur Shaw, but also offers some love interest for Josh. Simple to play good job without really either needing or trying to do more.  (7/10)

Gabourey Sidibe as Odessa Wise cracking maid with an ability to open locks. Pulled off brilliant by this very talent actress. Favourite Character (9/10)

 

Director: Brett Ratner following the rush hour series this is up there with them collecting its own buddy team in Stiller and Murphy (8/10)

Comedy: As Comedy goes this is not the laugh out loud film more some good chuckles which some characters offer more than others. With Murphy back to what he does well gives this more positives on both action and comedy (7/10)

Settings: Set in a tower block in the middle of New York City. (9/10)

Suggestion: If someone was to ask for a fun comedy I would pick this as it is easy to watch and should be enjoyed by all (8/10)

Best Part: An old lady walks in on the heist and doesn’t notice what is going on, funniest part of film.

Similar Too: Ocean’s Eleven

Overall: This is a very enjoyable action comedy with strong performance from all of the cast with many great supporting roles where everyone seems to pull off their role perfectly.

Rating 81%