Franchise Weekend – Cocoon: The Return (1988)

Director: Daniel Petrie

Writer: Stephen McPherson, Elizabeth Bradley (Screenplay) David Saperstein (Characters)

Starring: Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Courteney Cox, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford, Steve Guttenberg

 

Plot: The old age pensioners that left at the end of the first film come back to earth to visit their relatives. Will they all decide to go back to the planet where no-one grows old, or will they be tempted to stay back on earth?

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Forced Sequel

 

Story: Cocoon: The Return starts as the residents who left in the first film return, Art (Ameche), Ben (Brimley) and Joe (Cronyn) get to reunite with old friends and family that believed they had died, but the aliens are back for their own reasons, to rescue the cocoons that they left at the bottom of the ocean that has been disturbed following an earthquake.

As the for resident spend their time on Earth they start to fall back into old ways be it sickness or mentoring roles being left with the question of whether they want to stay or not. The aliens must find a way to rescue one of their own that has been found by scientists led by Sara (Cox).

 

Thoughts on Cocoon: The Return

 

Characters – Art, Ben and Joe all return to Earth where they get to meet old friends and family, Joe gets caught up in needing to battle his old illness, Ben wants to help his grandson who is struggling with growing up and Art finds his wife pregnant at her age. The three get to look at the life they have missed for the last 5 years and need to make the decision whether to stay or not. Sara is one of the scientists which discovers the cocoons and works with the alien inside even though the rest of the government want to take him away. We do have plenty of other characters in this film but they do seem to take away any focus on enough characters.

PerformanceThe performances do feel like a step back from the first film, the older actors do seem to have a lot of fun with their roles.

StoryThe story does feel like a forced sequel, it brings the aliens back to Earth to rescue the ones they left behind with the elderly characters getting to look at the life they left behind. It does go against what we learnt in the first film with the elderly characters now facing the same question of can they stay or not because of what they missed. The alien side of things does fall into every single one we have seen, the government finds one and what to learn more about it now.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery side of this film comes from the idea of the aliens returning and what the humans will do with the ones they have discovered.

SettingsThe settings do feel the same which is fine but we do have the additional inclusion of the science base working on things.

Special EffectsThe effects here do feel like a step back too where we clearly see any addition used in the film.

Scene of the Movie – Basketball.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The fact it makes no sense transporting the cocoons after the first film made a point that they couldn’t.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very forced sequel that doesn’t accept the points it made in the first film, the effects are weaker and the performances are just not on the same level.

 

Overall: Disappoint sequel that was forced.

Rating

 

 

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Den of Thieves (2018)

Director: Christian Gudegast

Writer: Christian Gudegast (Screenplay) Christian Gudegast, Paul Scheuring (Story)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jr, 50 Cent, Meadow Williams, Maurice Compte, Brian Van Holt

 

Plot: A gritty crime saga which follows the lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Heist Movie

 

Story: Den of Thieves starts as we see how Merrimen (Schreiber) operates with his team, second in command Enson (50 Cent) and new comer driver Donnie Wilson (Jackson Jr) as they pull off their latest job, investigating this is major crimes officer Big Nick O’Brien (Butler) and his team, they don’t take prisoners, they take bodies.

After the opening heist the two sides know their enemy and Nick brings Donnie in to bring in to learn the plan, while Merrimen is planning the biggest heist ever heard off, the Federal Reserve Bank, will they manage to pull this off.

 

Thoughts on Den of Thieves

 

Characters – Big Nick is the leader of a major crime unit that is suffering with his own addiction, he goes outside the law to get answers and never plays by the rules, he is a good leader and seems to be the only cop in town that can think outside the box. Ray Merrimen is the leader of the heist team, former marine and prisoner that plans his heist down to perfection with his team, he will not go down without swinging. Donnie is the newest member of the team, hired for his driving skills, that he gets forced to work both sides by Big Nick or face jail for a third time.

PerformancesGerard Butler is on fine form here, this could easily be his best performance in years, yes this isn’t anything he can’t handle, but still he knows how to handle it. Pablo Schreiber is an actor I hadn’t heard off before, he does a good job opposite Butler, but his performance does feel like he needs to be a strong member of a team over the leader. O’Shea Jackson Jr is good in his role showing that he is going to be a name for years to come.

StoryThe story follows both sides of the law, the team preparing the heist and the police trying to figure out what the next target is. This work because we get to see both mindsets, but as both sides of the law are being painted as bad guy it makes it hard to support either side of them and this is affected with the opening sequence too. The twists that come in the story are going to be something that are not going to be too difficult to point out. This does however become an entertaining viewing experience.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action sequences are very good, even if they are mostly big gun battles in the busy streets. The crime side of the film is how the heist unfolds which does help with the mystery side of the film as we see how it all unfolds.

SettingsLA is the setting, which is meant to have the highest bank robbery rating in the country, this works for the busy streets and divide between the sides of the city.

Special EffectsThe effects are very good when it comes to showing off the bullet effects which are brutal as you could imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
The final heist, it might be long, but it is edge of you seat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The opening sequence ruins us caring about the thieves.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good gritty heist movie, it rolls past with an over two hour run time and keeps us guessing until the final scene.

 

Overall: Great action crime movie.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – D – The Descendants (2011)

Director: Alexander Payne

Writer: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash (Screenplay) Kaui Hart Hemmings (Novel)

Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Patricia Hastie, Matthew Lillard, Judy Greer

 

Plot: A land baron tries to reconnect with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Drama

 

Story: The Descendants starts as Matt King (Clooney) a land baron and lawyer who has been distant from his wife Elizabeth and children Alexandra (Woodley) and Scottie (Miller), when Elizabeth (Hastie) is involved in an accident and left in a coma, Matt must become the lead parent, something he hasn’t done in year.

In the middle of a massive sale of his family’s land Matt learns the reality of what will be happening to Elizabeth, wishing he could give it all up for more time with his family. This takes a turn when Matt learns that Elizabeth was having an affair and that is why Alexandra no longer wanted to speak to her mother.

Matt must put his own problems a side to become the father he never was even when his own life is coming crashing down around him.

 

Thoughts on The Descendants

 

Characters/PerformanceMatt has spent his life working and not being the family man he is should have been, he must face reality after his wife’s accident becoming the father he never was, learning about the secrets his wife was keeping from him. Alexandra is the eldest daughter who knows about the affair but standing on her father’s side, she must become the big sister lil Scottie needs through the situation. Scottie is the youngest daughter who is lost because of the accident not quite understand the situation. The rest of the characters all help Matt make his decisions he needs to be making for the good of the family.

Performance wise, Clooney is brilliant and easily gives one of his performances of his career, this is also a big break out role for Woodley who showed the world her abilities. Miller does well as does the rest of the cast who make each scene enjoyable to watch.

StoryThe story shows us the difficult situations a family would go through if a parent got injured suddenly, we see the rebuilding of a family, secrets exposed that would bring strain on everything as well as how they got through it all. It shows how difficult it would be for a parent learning the truth who must stay strong for their children too. This is a beautiful told story that you can understand each and every decision any character make through the film.

SettingsHawaii as the backdrop for this film is beautiful but it is quick to tell us just how it isn’t only a tropical paradise, it has the same problems the rest of the world does.

Final ThoughtsA film about loss is always hard to get through but this one is almost a joy because it shows just how difficult learning about secrets would be.

 

Overall: This is a great drama I feel everyone should see.

Rating