Cruel Intention (1999)

Director: Roger Kumble

Writer: Roger Kumble (Screenplay) Choderlos de Laclos (Novel)

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius

 

Plot: Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster’s daughter before the start of term.


Tagline – What you can’t have, you can’t resist.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Delicious

 

Story: Cruel Intentions starts as the elite prep school step siblings Kathryn (Gellar) and Sebastian (Phillippe) are planning their next conquests in making the fellow students or authority figures pay for going against them. Kathryn wants to destroy new student Cecile (Blair) for dating her ex-girlfriend, while Sebastian wants to break the new headmaster’s daughter Annette’s (Witherspoon) belief about waiting for sex before marriage.

We watch how the two navigate their way through the elite to achieve their goals only for Sebastian to start to change from his seductive ways.

 

Thoughts on Cruel Intentions

 

Characters – Kathryn is the two faced elite society girl, two the parents she is the good polite guide for their daughters through the prep school, with her brother and friends she plays people however she wants to get things done, she holds grudges and has power over her step-brother, to help her enjoy seeing people fall. Sebastian has a reputation that has seen him go through the girls at the school, he gets what he wants but is bored of the easy girls that can be pushed around. He sets his sights on the new headmaster’s daughter which will give him a new look on life. Annette is the headmaster’s daughter that has sworn off sex before marriage, she is determined not to let Sebastian take advantage of her and break her code, knowing the truth about his past.

PerformancesSarah Michelle Gellar was known for her bad ass Buffy the Vampire Slayer when this movie came out, this performance broke her typecast and showed that she could do a much darker role. Ryan Phillippe is wonderful in this role, you can see how he plans to get ahead at every step of the way believing his confident character. Reese Witherspoon bought us the innocent character we now know her for, we need her to be strong, she is and that look makes her look the part perfectly. This is easily one of he best cast movies of recent years.

StoryThe story takes us into the elite prep school life where the kids are free enough to be planning their next sexual conquest because money is no longer an issue for them. Seeing how the story plans out is interesting from early on to the finish as the plans between the characters and how the step-siblings manipulate the people in their lives is twisted. The pace of the story is great too, it never feels like it lets up from start to finish. It does however show how stupid rich kids can be because they have never learnt morals.

RomanceThe romance in this film is a complete mix, we get to see how romance can be used just for sex and how it can change people to become better people.

SettingsThe New York setting is perfect for this movie, it shows how the elite school kids can get up to the most pointless behaviour because of boredom and belief they have the power over anyone.


Scene of the Movie –
The fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me These kids never go to school.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful dark romantic thriller, that uses the music perfectly, has brilliant performances and is easily one of the most watchable films out of the late 90s.

 

Overall: Special movie that hasn’t aged a day.

Rating

 

 

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Patient Zero (2018)

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky

Writer: Mike Le (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci, Matt Smith, Clive Standen, Frederick Schmidt, Frederick Schmidt, Agyness Deyn, John Bradley

 

Plot: After an unprecedented global pandemic turns the majority of humankind into violent “Infected,” a man gifted with the ability to speak the Infected’s new language leads the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero and a cure.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Promising Outbreak Movie

 

Story: Patient Zero starts as we enter the world with a global pandemic where an aggressive strain of rabies known as ‘Mad Dog’ has taken over the population, it infects within minutes and turns its infected violent. The human race is now in hiding, with the group we follow led by Dr Gina Rose (Dormer) searching for patient zero in hope of finding a cure, joined by bitten, but never infected Morgan (Smith) and surrounded by the military, this is a race against time, that isn’t being won by the humans.

Morgan has the ability to communicate with the infect which helps him search for the answer to just who patient zero is and now they are getting closer than ever, until the Professor (Tucci) turns up with his own agenda from the infected side of the battle.

 

Thoughts on Patient Zero

 

Characters – Dr Gina Rose is leading the search for the cure for the infection, she has been since the first outbreak, she demands to be in control of the base never letting any army member intimidate her. She is however taking her own risk with her love interest on the base. Morgan is a soldier on the base that once got bitten, though he never got infected, with this ability he gained the ability to learn how to understand the language the infected speak. He interviews the infected as they search for patient zero, hoping to be able to save his wife from the infection. The Professor is one of the infected, one that doesn’t act the same as the rest, he gets interviewed and tries to reflect the nature on the humans. The rest of the facility includes infected being interviewed, soldiers that are risking their own lives and would rather pull the trigger and survivors.

PerformancesNatalie Dormer in the leading role is easily the strongest part of the film, we believe her characters desperation to be the one that helps cure the world. Matt Smith on the other hand, well his acting is good, but his accent is horrendous don’t worry he isn’t the only one that loses his accent at times. Stanley Tucci is good to watch in this film, as soon as he appears he grabs your attention. Outside these three we get average performance for characters that were never developed fully.

StoryThe story in the zombie genre of films is always getting people trying to bring a fresh spin, the story here does start promisingly with the idea that this isn’t a full zombie movie it is an infection which causes rage, but can be controlled. Now searching for a patient zero to find a cure is good to watch and having the one man that was bitten and never turned being able to communicate with the infected does bring a fresh feeling. The problems with this story come from the ending which just goes the way all zombie style movies go and you will just lose the interest we have gathered from the early parts in the film. If you did see the movie ‘The Cured’ it touches on similar subjects even if it is further down the line of recovery.

Action/HorrorThe action falls into the generic infected/zombie panic stuff we have seen before. The horror never feels scary because we are focusing on the bigger picture over going for scares.

SettingsThe film keeps nearly all the action in the bunker which makes sense for the whole film, the only time we leave is with flashbacks showing the moments of infection, which are interesting scenes.

Special EffectsThe effects are very simple with the one big moment looks great.


Scene of the Movie –
The bite to the doctor.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The ending is cliched.

Final ThoughtsThis is a promising infection style movie that starts so, well only to fall into the generic style we have seen too often and the less we talk about Matt Smith’s accent the better.

 

Overall: Infection Film 101

Rating

 

 

What Still Remains (2018)

Director: Josh Mendoza

Writer: Josh Mendoza (Screenplay)

Starring: Lulu Antariksa, Colin O’Donoghue, Mimi Rogers, Dohn Norwood, Jeff Kober, Peter O’Brien, Roshon Fegan

 

Plot: After the loss of her family, a young woman struggles to survive in a world long-since destroyed by disease; but when a lonely traveler offers her a place in his community, she must decide if the promise of a better life is worth the risk of trusting him.


Tagline – People become their own kind of monster.

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: The End of The World as We Know It

 

Story: What Still Remains starts in the world destroyed by a disease, Anna (Antariksa) lives with her brother and mother in a remote location just looking to survive, when she loses both of them in one day, she continues on alone, until one day a mysterious stranger Peter (O’Donoghue) arrives, offering a community and safety.

Joining Peter, Anna returns to the community seeing the good and bad parts of world on the way before joining the community.

 

Thoughts on What Still Remains

 

Characters – Anna is a young woman living in a disease riddled world, she has survived with her family in the middle of nowhere, until one day she loses them both. With training on how to survive she will continue to work alone to survive, until she meets a stranger that offers her hope of a better life, she wants to remain independent in this world which she might not get anymore. Peter is the mysterious stranger that offers Anna hope of a new life in a religious like community, he comes of like a good guy that only wants to help, but we soon learn his motives. Judith is one of the leaders in the community, she has helped raise the numbers with her religious beliefs which bring people together. We do get other community members, enemies and danger filled characters along the way.

PerformancesLulu Antariksa is the clear star of the film, her character like the audience learns everything as it happens, and we like to see just how she reacts to everything in a natural calm manner. Colin O’Donoghue is good in the supporting role keeping us wondering around his character. The rest of the cast do well with how they interact with Lulu.

StoryThe story follows the world destroyed by disease with the survivors living off the map, we follow Anna a young woman that has been in such situation. We follow the solo Anna that needs to make a decision about surviving alone or with others, learning about how dangerous people can be. We have seen this style of film before and we know that Anna is the type of character that will need to make the big decisions. The tried and tested formula keeps things simple and by the end of the story you will be wanting to see what will happen next.

ThrillerThe film does have an air of tension throughout, mostly around Anna being unsure about everything that is going on, we know she knows how to survive in her comfort zone, now the tension is around how she can cope away from it.

SettingsThe film takes place in the woodland area around any city, we don’t touch any of the cities and any communities are just located within created walls, which does make sense.

Special EffectsThe effects are only used when needed, they are for the battles with none of them looking out of place.


Scene of the Movie –
Anna’s next step.

That Moment That Annoyed Me We don’t get enough information about the reasons for the battle between the two communities.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good survival thriller, it has a wonderful lead performance and puts us in a world you can believe to have be destroyed by a disease.

 

Overall: Survival thriller we know.

Rating

 

 

I Kill Giants (2018)

Director: Anders Walter

Writer: Joe Kelly (Screenplay) Joe Kelly, J.M. Ken Niimura (Graphic Novel)

Starring: Madison Wolfe, Zoe Saldana, Imogen Poots, Sydney Wade, Rory Jackson

 

Plot: Barbara Thorson struggles through life by escaping into a fantasy life of magic and monsters.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Emotional Fascinating

 

Story: I Kill Giants starts as we see Barbara (Wolfe) doing experiments to see which giants will get attracted to which scents, she lives with her sister Karen (Poots) and brother Dave (Parkinson) and she doesn’t have any friends. Barbara spends her days preparing for battle with giants, who she believes walks around the world, with a new friend Sophia (Wade) she reveals her secrets.

As the new school psychologist Mrs Molle (Saldana) tries to figure out Barbara, Barbara starts becoming more distant from the real world in her fight against the giants with Sophia supporting her, just how much is an escape from reality?

 

Thoughts on I Kill Giants

 

Characters – Barbara is the school girl that lives in a fantasy world where she prepares to fight giants, she is a loner at school, distant from her siblings, she doesn’t let people in her life no matter how hard some try, it is clear she is dealing with some sort of personal grief or trauma, but what has caused it, is what we want to know about her character. Mrs Molle is the new school psychologist that wants to help Barbara, she knows there is a bigger problem and will dedicate more tie to learn the truth about her problems. Karen is the older sister of Barbara, she is trying hold the family together looking after her siblings, she is suffering as well, but must stay strong. Sophia is the new girl in town, she wants to befriend Barbara and shows the patience a true friend would when they are suffering.

PerformancesMadison Wolfe is fantastic in this leading role, we see just how she shows how hiding the grief can make you seem enthusiastic and determined when deep down all you want to do is cry. Zoe Saldana is great in this role where we see her being a calming influence instead of the action heavier role she has been known for. Imogen Poots and Sydney Wade are both good in the supporting roles in this film too.

StoryThe story follows a school girl that is battling giants being very distant from the world. this story goes in a direction I personally wasn’t expecting and this only make this better on every level. We can learn and work early on that something isn’t right with Barbara’s life, we get hints and you can see she is dealing with something a child that age shouldn’t have to experience. By the end of this story you may find yourself emotional exhausted and believing me when I say, this will be one that will stick with you for long after it finishes.

FantasyThe fantasy side of the film shows us just how the world Barbara is creating works, with giants, traps and preparation for battle against them.

SettingsThe film keeps us in a small coastal town in America, it shows how people can know each other, but not know the truth about what is going on in life.

Special EffectsThe effects are save for anytime Barbara is battle the giants, we don’t get to see them completely as this does only let her see them.


Scene of the Movie –
The final battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It seems strange the school didn’t know the truth.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the biggest and best surprises I have seen this year, I feel it is a must watch and one you will need to prepare yourself for.

 

Overall: Must watch emotional rollercoaster.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Nymphomaniac Vol 2 (2013)

Director: Lars von Trier

Writer: Lars von Trier (Screenplay)

Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth

 

Plot: The continuation of Joe’s sexually dictated life delves into the darker aspects of her adulthood, obsessions and what led to her being in Seligman’s care.


Tagline – Forget About Love

Runtime: 2 Hours 3 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darker, but Not Interesting

 

Story: Nymphomaniac Vol 2 starts where the last film finished as Joe (Gainsbourg telling the story, Martin acting the story) is feeling lifeless when it comes to sex and even after having a child with Jerome (LaBeouf) the two start to become distant in their relationship as Joe still requires her sexual times. Now we are watching the older Joe only as she gets involved with risky sexual experiences.

When her body starts to struggle with the sex in her life, she starts going through treatment for her sex addiction and what she goes through next shows just how addiction can take over the lives of people.

 

Thoughts on Nymphomaniac Vol 2

 

Characters – Joe continues her story in this one we look at her taking on more extreme sexual encounters as she does continue to take on daily encounters to satisfy her lust. We see the affects on her body as she grows to the middle aged woman. The rest of the characters we meet don’t get enough screen time, Jerome is here only to try to take Joe’ child away. Seligman does have a bigger secret about him.

PerformancesCharlotte Gainsbourg does take the centre stage this time around going through the sexual encounters, she does commit to the performance. We have new actors joining this film and they do a good enough job when given the time.

StoryThe next chapter of the stories of Nymphomaniac Joe, this does show her going into extremer formers of sexual pleasure which has cost her child, but found her a career she could never have imagined, one which lets her use her sexual desires. The thing with the story here, is that you do need to have seen the first film to have any idea what is going on, while most two part movies you can miss or get recap this offers us nothing to help.

SettingsThe settings continued to show us just where Joe finds herself through her different encounters, none become the most important to the film.


Scene of the Movie –
The new job for Joe.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It’s just unrealistic conversations.

Final ThoughtsThis is the second half of a film, that if you don’t make it through the first one, you will not enjoy the second, this might be darker, but it just isn’t enjoyable enough to sit through.

 

Overall: Still difficult to watch.

Rating