Maverick (1994)

maverDirector: Richard Donner

Writer: William Goldman (Screenplay) Roy Huggins (TV Show)

Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner, Graham Greene, Alfred Molina, James Coburn, Dub Taylor

 

Plot: Bret Maverick, needing money for a poker tournament, faces various comic mishaps and challenges, including a charming woman thief.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tiresome Comedy

 

Story: Maverick starts as Bret Maverick (Gibson) finds himself at the end of noose recounting what left him in this awkward predicament. Maverick looking to enter a poker tournament and goes on a string of miss-adventures as he finds himself constantly in trouble to make this happen.

Maverick is joined by thief Annabelle Bransford (Foster) and Marshal Zane Cooper (Garner) but also finds himself having a bounty on is head. Will Maverick make it to the game on time along with finding the money to enter the poker tournament

 

Thoughts on Maverick

 

StoryThis story just seems to be a repeating formula of Maverick finding himself in trouble only to be coning everyone involved. The film actually feel like a series of short episodes after all it is based off a television show but in the end just doesn’t strike all the points it needs to.

Action/Comedy/WesternThe action is based from the comedy going on in the film which is a rinse repeat formula all set to the western backdrop.

Characters/PerformanceMaverick feels like a true con-artists like character that always just escapes from what he finds himself in. Annabelle is made to be a clumsy woman which gets boring after a while with the rest of the characters just seemingly being involved in the wild adventures Maverick finds himself in. when you look at the performances they are all fine but they all get tiresome after a while.

SettingsEach setting throws us back to the old west in a bright colourful way for once as we see all the different locations that Maverick finds himself in. They all help push the film into the direction it is needed for the final game.

Final ThoughtsWe have seen this in other genres and in this one we seem to get the same gag over and over while there is a twist in nearly every scene too.

 

Overall: Not the best and could easily be better.

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Blue Ruin (2013)

blieDirector: Jeremy Saulnier

Writer: Jeremy Saulnier (Screenplay)

Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David W Thompson

 

Plot: A mysterious outsider’s quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tension Filled Thriller

 

Story: Blue Ruin starts as we see homeless outside Dwight (Blair) doing all he can to get by breaking into houses for baths and searching bins for food while sleeping in his abandoned car. Dwight’s life is turned upside down when he learns about Wade Cleland release from prison, the man who killed his parents.

Dwight turns everything he has into a method of transport in his car to travel to get vengeance on Wade for what he did, leaving him dead in a bar bathroom.

When the murder isn’t reported on any news outlets Dwight must get his sister Sam’s (Hargreaves) family to safety as he waits for the Cleland family to come for their own form of justice against him. Dwight must use all his connection to stop the people who are after him and it isn’t long before we learn that Dwight is just as deadly as the men after him.

 

Thoughts on Blue Ruin

 

StoryThe story of vengeance shines through here where we get such a simplistic tale of one man’s quest to kill the man responsible for killing his parents. Each scene is filled with tension as we must see the whole story coming from the expression and action of Dwight. The story shows that you can have a simple revenge story that draws you in from start to finish.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime in this film is the path that Dwight leaves for in his vengeance mission and this helps the thrilling side of the story which is just full blown tension filled throughout.

Characters/PerformancesDwight is the strongest written character here and we see him in every single scene as he tells the story with next to no words. The rest of the cast only have a couple of scenes which doesn’t give us enough time to see these characters develop.

SettingsEach setting shows the bleaker side of America as we see the darker side to the country even if none of the locations can be clashed as memorable but they all look amazing.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most intense crime thrillers that is carried by one of the best performances of the year of release.

 

Overall: Brilliantly tense thriller that is a must for the fans of the genre.

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan Weekend – The Possession (2012)

possesDirector: Ole Bornedal

Writer: Juliet Snowden, Stiles White (Screenplay) Leslie Gornstein (Article)

Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Natasha Calis, Madison Davenport, Matisyahu, Grant Snow

 

Plot: A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl’s father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Surprisingly Good

 

Story: The Possession starts as we see how the box has the power to make people possessed before we meet our main characters. We have recently divorced couple Clyde (Morgan) and Stephanie (Sedgwick) who are trying to keep their daughter’s Em (Calis) and Hannah (Davenport) happy through the difficult time.

After Clyde purchases a mysterious box his youngest daughter Em starts acting strange as the house seems to be getting infested with moths and she becomes very protective of the box. When Em’s behaviour gets worse we see just how the evil spirit is taking over and the possession is becoming deadly to all the people involved.

 

Thoughts on The Possession

 

StoryThis story is very loosely based on a real series of events in which an ancient cursed box caused nightmares and possession like symptoms in its owners. The story we get told is very simple for the possession genre of films with the youngest member getting taken over by the spirit and because of her parents’ divorce she is easier to target. The story does have good attempts at trying to balance the idea of a young girl acting out against the divorce but falls into the supernatural side of the story easily which tries to go with shock moments throughout. While this is one of the better modern day possession films it doesn’t reach the true shock value it could have.

Horror/ThrillerThe horror comes with the possession side of the story which is usually a side of horror I don’t find scary or interesting but this one at least has moments of interest because the real case behind this story is one that I find interesting. You do wonder where the story will go as in can it pull off anything shocking and original as the story unfolds. The MRI scene is the stand out scare scene though.

Characters/PerformancesLooking at the characters you get very little new, we have the divorcing parents who are trying to stay friends for their kids. We get the busy teenager who is too busy worrying about herself than her family. The main victim is the youngest and quieter of the two daughters whose behaviour starts out with it mostly being against the divorce, this character is the most important and must go through the most. When you look at the performances they are all good without being The Exorcist level.

SettingsKeeping the settings simple we get the homes which show that it could happen to anyone in their safe place with all the other settings being ones you would expect to see with events of the story, police station, hospital, church and schools.

Special EffectsWe have good special effects throughout without having to turn to them for every single scene going on through the film which other possession films do.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to possession films this is one of the better ones out there, it shows the struggle the family go through without going over the top with the shock moments.

 

Overall: Enjoyable for all the horror fans out there.

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan Weekend – Red Dawn (2012)

redDirector: Dan Bradley

Writer: Carl Ellsworth, Jeremy Passmore (Screenplay) Kevin Reynolds, John Milius (Original Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise, Edwin Hodge, Brett Cullen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Will Yun Lee

 

Plot: A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Remake

 

Story: Red Dawn starts as we get filled on how North Korea has risen in power and threatens to take on America in battle. We move to meet our characters with returning marine Jed Eckert (Hemsworth) his high school quarterback brother Matt (Peck) and fellow high schoolers Robert Kitner (Hutcherson), Toni Walsh (Palicki) and Erica Martin (Lucas).

When their quiet town awakens one morning they find themselves under attack by North Korea as we see Jed, Matt, Robert, Danny (Hodge) and other students escape to safety of the cabin. With Jed leading the students they prepare to go up against the army to free their families as they join forces with ex-marines Tanner (Morgan), Smith (Choi) and Hodges (Gerald).

Red Dawn is a remake of one of the iconic 80s movies and to be fair this isn’t as bad as you were thinking it would be. First the war scenario looks like it could have been realistic with the rising tensions between the nations. I will go into a few negatives where Matt is very annoying with his decision making process which causes us to roll our eyes at what he is doing. It does feel more rushed and you do think the Korean army would be able to handle a few rebellious teenagers though. If you watch this with just relaxed style you could see how this would be enjoyed but just don’t expect the emotional level it should have.

 

Overall: Solid remake that is an easy watch.

Rating60

 

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – Julia (2014)

juliaDirector: Matthew A Brown

Writer: Matthew A Brown (Screenplay)

Starring: Ashely C Williams, Tahyna Valentina MacManus, Jack Noseworthy, Joel de la Funete, Cary Woodworth, Darren Lipari, Ryan Cooper

 

Plot: A neo-noir revenge thriller centering on Julia Shames, who after suffering a brutal trauma, falls prey to an unorthodox form of therapy to restore herself.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stylish Thriller

 

Story: Julia starts as we meet quiet girl Julia (Williams) who goes for an interview only to find herself beaten, bloody and left for dead by the men responsible. Broken Julia turns to drink but soon learns about a doctor who has an unorthodox method of helping rape victims by giving them the power back.

Julia has to go through a training process under Sadie (Valentina MacManus) so Dr Sgundud (Noseworthy) can decide whether she can become one of the fighters against the men of the world. Once trained Julia becomes a seductive killer with the other victims who all take out their own form of vengeance of rapist.

Julia is a real slick stylish revenge thriller that plays into all the ideas of how rapist should be treated. There is a twist in the story which makes everything stand away from what could easily be just another knock of version of ‘I Spit on Your Grave’. The revenge scenes all come off very sexualised and like all revenge films we get to see the consequences of the idea. Ashley C Williams shines in this leading role with the rest of the cast almost stuck in her shadow throughout the film.

 

Overall: Sexy, stylish thriller that is all about the visual revenge kills.

Rating65