A Scanner Darkly (2006)

logoDirector: Richard Linklater

Writer: Richard Linklater (Screenplay) Philip K. Dick (Novel)

Starring: Rory Cochrane, Robert Downey Jr, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson

 

Plot: An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Start, Slow Finish

 

Story: A Scanner Darkly starts by introducing us to Charles Freck (Cochrane) a man being pestered by bugs while on a new drug. Calling a friend James Barris (Downey Jr) for advice they plan to meet to look at the bugs. Skip to the Police who are trying to crack down on narcotics with a new undercover suit worn b Officer Fred (Reeves) as he goes undercover to fight the war on narcotics. Substance D is the new drug on the streets that they are most trying to stop taking a hold on the users.

Officer Fred is undercover with dealer Donna (Ryder) using his alias Bob Arctor who is a suspect he is meant to be after, he also knows Charles and James along with follower stoner Ernie Luckman (Harrelson). We watch as Officer Fred starts to lose his mind as he struggles to deal with the different realities the drug world is leaving him in. Fred has to work out who to trust and why the police are after him as well as why Barris is trying to sell him out.

A Scanner Darkly is one of those films that really pulls you in to start with but in the end fizzles out, it is a shame because the idea was a good concept but it doesn’t give us enough potential surprises like who Hank is, it is clear who early on. The subject looks at how the drugs can affect the people who are just undercover rather than the ones who are who are the stoners. I think more focus on who and what is really going on should have been had because the end feels empty rather than concluded. (6/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Robert Downey Jr: James Barris one of the stoners who believes he is smarter than the rest of them. He wants to out one of his group not knowing he is the guy undercover. Robert does a good job in what was one of his recovery roles. (7/10)

robert

Keanu Reeves: Bob Arctor/Officer Fred the undercover cop whose identity is a secret to the force while he gets close to the dealers. Keanu does a good job in a role you wouldn’t imagine him in. (7/10)

 keanu

Winona Ryder: Donna Hawthorne main dealer and girlfriend of Bob, she keeps the guys hooked up. Winona does a good job but doesn’t get enough screen time. (6/10)

 winoan

Woody Harrelson: Ernie Luckman one of the stoners who gets all philosophical whenever high. Woody makes for a solid supporting character but needed more screen time. (5/10)

 

Rory Cochrane: Charles Freck the man who gets most affected by the substance D who starts seeing things before anybody else and is always the fear of what the group could become. Rory does a good job and as for that opening scene that really pulls you in and you want to see more of his character. (8/10)

 rory

Support Cast: A Scanner Darkly only has supporting characters working in the police be it officers or doctors checking on Fred. They all help try to show his better side rather than his drug side.

 

Director Review: Richard Linklater – Richard has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood this year and this showed that he is a visionary director. (8/10)

 

Animation: A Scanner Darkly is very original with its style of animation which makes the story be able to go in direction that wouldn’t be possible if it was just one or the other. (9/10)

Mystery: A Scanner Darkly tries to keep you guessing but sadly doesn’t keep it up enough of the way through the film. (6/10)

Thriller: A Scanner Darkly keeps you wondering but never pushes you to the edge like it could. (6/10)

Settings: A Scanner Darkly settings are created well throughout the film. (7/10)
Special Effects
: A Scanner Darkly uses both brilliant special effects and animation to create a unique look for the film. (8/10)

Suggestion: A Scanner Darkly is one to try it isn’t the most perfect film but the visual could be rewarding. (Try It)

 

Best Part: Visuals.

Worst Part: Fizzles out near the end.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $7.6 Million

Budget: $8.5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Tagline: Everything Is Not Going To Be OK

 

Overall: Brave Idea

Rating 72

What is your favourite Rory Cochrane role?

Rory Cochrane is a New York born actor who seems to have made a career out of being the supporting character you almost recognise. Looking through his 30 credits on the IMDB he nearly always comes just after the bigger known star and apart from his time on CSI Miami we see a range of different films. Today I am going to look at some of these roles and I ask you to pick your favourite one of his.

Fathers & Sons (1992)father sons

Opposite Jeff Goldblum A beach runner and bookworm (Goldblum) has difficulty communicating with his son. He meets a psychic on a pier at the beach and soon his world turns topsy-turvy with a serial killer coming between him and his son. The ensuing E.S.P. experiences and danger bond father and son.

Dazed and Confused (1993)dazed

This is Richard Linklater high school comedy that has stars of the future all over it.

Love and a .45 (1994)45

This time with Renee Zellweger, Watty has made a living out of robbing convenience stores, but after one of these job turned into murder by his partner, the psychopath Billy Mack, he is on the run with his fiancé Starlene and with both Billy Mack, the police and some loansharks on his trail. Their plan is to go to Mexico but before they do that they want to get married and visit Starlenes parents.

Empire Records (1995)records

The employees of an independent music store learn about each other as they try anything to stop the store being absorbed by a large chain.

The Low Life (1995)lowlife

One of his first lead roles was in this film, John came to Hollywood to get that one big break in life. Years have passed since and all he has to show for are a menial job, unpaid bills and airhead friends and he’s getting sick of it all. Is there a way out of this downward spiral?

Black and White (1999)black white

Chris O’Brien, devote Catholic and rookie cop with LAPD, is assigned to partner with the hard-edged, street-smart Nora Hugosian. A serial killer is loose, and all the victims are low-life guys whom Nora has dealt with. So, when the tire tracks of a police car are found at a murder scene, she’s the prime suspect of internal affairs investigator Simon Hertzel. Chris and Nora start an affair, but meanwhile he has suspicions about her. Should he start his own investigation, which would be an act of betrayal, or trust her, as his partner and his lover? When a witness i.d.’s Nora’s former partner, Michael Clemence, as the killer, Nora gives Mike an alibi, and things get complicated.

Right at Your Door (2006)door

A dirty bomb goes off in Los Angeles, jamming freeways and spreading a toxic cloud. This is easily my favourite of all his films and it really is a film that will shock you.

A Scanner Darkly (2006)darkley

Re-teaming with Richard Linklater here for a film that really does stand out as one of a kind. An undercover cop in a not-too-distant future becomes involved with a dangerous new drug and begins to lose his own identity as a result.

Tim Speedle – CSI Miami (2002-2007)miami

It what would easily be his most known role this was the hit crime drama set in Miami.

Greg Seaton – 24 (2009)24

Part of Day 7 in the every so popular television show Greg is a supporting character who ends up getting involved in Jack’s day.

Bring up Bobby (2011)bobby

A con artist moves her son to a conservative neighborhood in Oklahoma in an effort to build a better future, but it doesn’t take long for her past to catch up with her, and for her son’s behavior to cause problems of its own.

Oculus (2013)oculus

In what was a very unusual horror film we follow A woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was convicted of murder, by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon.

We have also had supporting roles in

  • Parkland
  • Argo
  • Public Enemies
  • Hart’s War

Out of the Dark (2014)

logoDirector: Lluis Quilez

Writer: Javier Gullon, David Pastor, Alex Pastor (Screenplay)

Starring: Julia Stiles, Scott Speedman, Pixie Davies, Alejandro Furth, Stephen Rea

 

Plot: A couple and their daughter moves to Colombia to take over a family manufacturing plant, only to realize their new home is haunted.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Ghost Investigation: Columbia

 

Story: Out of the Dark starts by showing a man trying to escape Columbia in 1992 burning reports and documents, when a knocking at the door starts happening he answers to nothing before getting haunted by childlike figures and he’s dead. With that very simple introduction we know what type of evil we will be dealing with but not giving away the motive behind it.

Move forward to present day we see American family Sarah (Stiles), Paul (Speedman) and young daughter Hannah (Davies) moving to St Clara Columbia. Shown around by Sarah’s father Jordan (Rea) the family is in for a big culture change as Sarah comes to start her new job at a paper factory. The family just so happens to move into the same house from the opening sequence. The town is preparing for a festival to celebrate an old tradition where the children of the village wear masks and bandages.

Paul the artists is looking after Hannah when he makes a discovery from one of the photos he took when they first moved in, just as Hannah goes off wondering into the garden which leads into the forest. The Festival of the Children is about remembering an ancient story about the children of the village being killed by the conquistadors.

After Hannah goes missing in the house it becomes apparent that the house is haunted by the vengeful ghosts. Hannah is found sick in the house but with little in the word of answers about the sickness. When Hannah continues to get sicker strange goings on continue to happen around the house with the ghost children drawn the Hannah. When the vengeful children take Hannah, Sarah and Paul are left helpless must use what very little connection they have in the town to discover what is happening and get their daughter back before it is too late.

Out of the Dark is one of those haunting the family that was involved in something that lead to the death, these are the type of horror films I enjoy because of the mystery element added to the scares that might not come off. I would pose the questions of ‘would you move you family to a country you know nothing about?’ ‘Would you leave your daughter with a babysitter on your first week there?’ these two questions really lead you to wonder a lot about the goings on in the film. I did like the idea of the Conquistadors legend which would have been a lot better for the outcome than what we got, but in the end the human factor does help make it more realistic. As I am a fan of the genre I am going to say this is solid but only because it feeds what I like. (7/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Julia Stiles: Sarah Harriman the go to work parent in what is a slight difference to our normal horror films where the mother is the one who usually stays at home getting haunted. Julia does a good job as the concerned mother and working lady. (7/10)

 

Scott Speedman: Paul Harriman the stay at home father who does work from home but is the one investigating the haunting. Scott is the first male character in horror film that is in a couple and is actual solving the problem. (7/10)

 

Stephen Rea: Jordan the father of Sarah who brings the family to the town where they can start a new life. Stephen does a solid job in the role without needing to do too much. (6/10)

 

Pixie Davies: Hannah Harriman the daughter who seems to be getting the most part of the haunting because the children like to take other children. Pixie does a solid job in the role for the young actress. (6/10)

 

Support Cast: Out of the Dark has a supporting cast that doesn’t get to involved in what is going on but does help explain what could be going on.

 

Director Review: Lluis Quilez – Lluis does a solid job directing this very much by the book investigation horror film. (6/10)

 

Horror: Out of the Dark has a couple of good scares but nothing shocking. (6/10)

Thriller: Out of the Dark keeps you guessing as to what could have happened. (7/10)

Settings: Out of the Dark puts our family in a location unknown to them which helps for the horror to grow. (8/10)

Suggestion: Out of the Dark is one for the fans of this type of horror to enjoy, you won’t get scared but if you like ghost investigation like films this is for you. (Ghost Investigation Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Dream sequence.

Worst Part: Questionable parenting.

Scariest Scene: Dream Sequence.

 

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: Beginning of credits shows what happened next to the town.

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

Overall: Good Ghost Investigation Horror

Rating 65

Fury (2014)

logoDirector: David Ayer

Writer: David Ayer (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Jim Parrack, Brad William Henke, Xavier Samuel, Jason Isaacs

 

Plot: April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened Army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: One of the best modern war films

 

Story: Fury starts by informing us that during World War II American tanks were outgunned by the advancing German tanks and that the US tanks suffered staggering losses. April 1945 Hitler has sent every man, woman and child out to battle. We start by meeting Wardaddy (Pitt), Bible (LaBeouf), Gordo (Pena) and Coon-Ass (Bernthal) the unit in the tank known as Fury. Returning from their latest mission one man down they get a fresh young blood Norman Ellison (Lerman) who has only been part of the army for 8 weeks.

New mission orders come down and Wardaddy leads a platoon on the next mission which is to meet up with another platoon and take over the next town. Captain Waggoner (Isaacs) gets the platoon ready for the next mission which is a rescue mission, this goes down well but it is already taking its toll on Norman. Moving onto the town we see just what the Germans will do to the people who wouldn’t fight, while our unit slowly takes over the town.

The unit take the town and Wardaddy and Norman get a chance for a quiet moment during the reality of war that shows the true character of the 5 man unit. Receiving orders to intercept a German squad targeting the supply train we get bought back to the true reality of war. The next mission leaves the tank alone to complete and the five men must face impossible odds against nearly a full squadron of German soldiers.

Fury manages to show the true horror of war with this story, it puts the battles scenes together to what we expect but the brilliant peaceful moment in the middle really is the highlight to me. The characters each show the difference in the people who go to war as well as show that a lot of it is how they are dealing with the situation. I do feel we have a slightly weak point in the Norman character as we watch his start not willingly, slowly turn into a fighter only for him to want to surrender at the end, to me this doesn’t make sense to his character evolution. Taking that away we get what you would expect in a war film but this time we are all about the tanks which is slightly different to what we are used too. As I am not the biggest war film fan I was surprised by this one and thought I enjoyed the whole thing. (9/10)

 

Actor Review

 

Brad Pitt: Wardaddy the leader of the platoon who clearly has been affected by his time in the war but can’t let his men see his weakness. He is very reluctant to have the new blood in his tank but knows that he to support and force him to become a soldier. Wardaddy will also stand up for his unit and is even willing to sacrifice himself to save them. Brad gives a great performance but even though the characters are different I think this will still be his second best war film performance. (8/10)

 wardaddy

Shia LaBeouf: Bible the trademark religious member of the unit, who always gives final rights to anyone he kills but is also an effective gun man. Shia is an actor I really don’t like but this is one of the best performance I have seen from him. (8/10)

bible

Logan Lerman: Norman Ellison the fresh recruit sent to Wardaddy’s unit who clearly has no experience fighting in the war and only signed up as a typist. He finds himself horrified by what he sees in the first moments of war and can’t pull the trigger on the Germans. As the story unfolds we watch how he becomes part of the tank team and finds it in himself to fight for his unit and country. Logan gives a good performance stepping away from some of his audience friendly roles. (8/10)

 norman

Michael Pena: Gordo driver of the tank who tries to be the first friend of Norman but also knows that his hesitation could end up getting him killed. Michael gives a good performance as we know he is a great supporting actor. (8/10)

 gordo

Jon Bernthal: Coon-Ass the engineer of the tank who makes sure everything runs smoothly from the inside but doesn’t have the most combat time. Jon manages to return to his Walking Dead days here and you feel like he has taken the Shane character to the next level. (8/10)

shane

Support Cast: Fury has a supporting cast that includes the support tanks and soldiers as well as the enemy trying to hunt them down. They all help but none get a chance to shine as well as the main five.

 

Director Review: David Ayer – David goes a great job directing and making this film make a real impact on the war genre in film history. (9/10)

 

Action: Fury uses great combat scenes and takes risks with them too, relying on the tanks battles to feel intense with plenty of explosions. (8/10)

War: Fury uses the war element very brilliantly and uses the effects of war between the battles and the quiet moments to show how easily things can change. (9/10)

Settings: Fury uses what would look like real locations for the battles making you feel like you are travelling with the unit. (9/10)
Special Effects
: Fury has great effects with how brutal the kills are throughout the film. (9/10)

Suggestion: Fury is one to watch but I do feel that some people might find it too violent so been warned. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The peaceful attempt at dinner.

Worst Part: The forced kill.

Action Scene Of The Film: Final battle.

Kill Of The Film: Head explosions.

 

Believability: The idea could have happened but how things happened is less likely. (3/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Saving Private Ryan

 

Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $212 Million

Budget: $68 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

Tagline: War never ends quietly.

Trivia: During filming, Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf almost got in a real fight with Scott Eastwoodwhile the cameras were rolling. Eastwood, riding on the back, kept spitting tobacco juice on the tank. Pitt and LaBeouf felt this was disrespectful to their “home”, and exchanged words with Eastwood. Things grew pretty heated until Pitt and LaBeouf found out the script actually called for Eastwood’s character to spit his tobacco juice on the tank.

 

Overall: Fury is easily one of the best war films I have seen, this to me puts it in the same league as Platoon, Saving Private Ryan and Inglorious.

Rating 89

New Releases – 27th February 2015

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel hotel The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it’s making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tina Desai). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy – posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone’s secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself.

My Guess for Rating – 60%
My Anticipation Rating – 50%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

The Boy Next Door boy A newly divorced woman falls for a younger man who has recently moved in across the street from her, but their torrid affair soon takes a dangerous turn.

My Guess for Rating – 40%
My Anticipation Rating – 20%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

It Follows follows For 19-year-old Jay, fall should be about school, boys and weekends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, or something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her teenage friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind.

My Guess for Rating – 70%
My Anticipation Rating – 60%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No

Focus focu A veteran grifter takes a young, attractive woman under his wing, but things get complicated when they become romantically involved.

My Guess for Rating – 60%
My Anticipation Rating – 50%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – Yes

{Rec} 4: Apocalypse rec 4 Television reporter Ángela is rescued from the building and taken to an oil tanker to be examined. However, it is unknown whether it is her who is carrying the seed of the mysterious demonic virus.

My Guess for Rating – 75%
My Anticipation Rating – 80%
Will It Be Number One In UK? – No