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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John Malkovich Weekend – Jonah Hex (2010)

jonahDirector: Jimmy Hayward

Writer: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor (Screenplay) Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor, William Farmer (Story)

Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, John Gallagher Jr, Michael Shannon, Wes Bentley

 

Plot: The U.S. military makes a scarred bounty hunter with warrants on his own head an offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom, he must stop a terrorist who is ready to unleash Hell on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not as Bad as I Thought

 

Story: Jonah Hex starts as we see soldier Jonah Hex (Brolin) has to pay for killing Quentin Turnbull’s (Malkovich) son during the war, branded with a QT on his face Jonah witness his family burnt alive. Going on the rampage to find Turnbull he only discovers he has died and Jonah becomes a bounty hunter that can communicate with the dead.

When Turnbull returns from the grave or never got killed the President turns to Jonah Hex to stop Turnbull and his plan to build the deadly weapon that could become the biggest threat in American.

Jonah Hex is an adaptation from a comic book series which like most I have never read so I can’t judge how accurate the version is. The story is shot like it has been ripped from the pages of a comic because we get very little background story of any characters in more than quick flashbacks. The special effects do come off looking bad in places where you can clearly see the CGI being used throughout. The settings all come off looking like the time which isn’t a problem and potentially the highlight of the film. The action side of the film is all average without a truly memorable scene being used either and the inclusion of the fantasy elements where Jonah can talk to the dead comes off looking good and is something I would have liked to have seen more.

The cast is an interesting one because Brolin as Hex works well, Malkovich as the main villain is like finding a cheap version of Cyrus the Virus from Con Air, Megan Fox clearly brings the sex appeal but doesn’t get much of the actual acting done here. It is Michael Fassbender that stands out in this role where he goes full crazy with his character being the most memorable but I am not sure if it is for the right or wrong reasons. All the other supporting cast are almost wasted in small roles that barely get more than one scene.

 

Overall: I was expecting terrible but this is an easy watch without being great.

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Tracker (2010)

trackerDirector: Ian Sharp

Writer: Nicolas Van Pallandt (Screenplay)

Starring: Ray Winstone, Temuera Morrison, Gareth Reeves, Mark Mitchinson, Daniel Musgrove, Andy Anderson, Mick Rose, Jodie Hillock

 

Plot: An Afrikaner veteran of the Boer War has just immigrated to New Zealand and is hired to track a man accused of killing a soldier. While hunting through the countryside he captures his fugitive, only to learn that he’s innocent of the crime. When faced with the life changing decision to turn him in or set him free only one man will walk away alive.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow but Solid

 

Story: Tracker starts in the aftermath of the Boer War where we see Major Carlysle (Reeves) trying to keep the peace between both sides. When Arjan van Diemen (Winstone) arrives in New Zealand he gets recruited to find Kereama (Morrison) a local man accused of killing a soldier that we all see Saunders (Mitchinson) really killed.

When Arjan catches up with Kereama the two men realize they are not so different as they try to outsmart each other and return to the British soldiers.

Tracker show how honour between men can be the beginning middle and end of where the characters end up going. Everything does play out slowly but complete between the characters who all believe in their own way they are doing the right thing which is a good thing. If this was cut down slightly we could have got the same message without having all the side tracked visuals though. This is solid for what it is trying to tell though.

 

Actor Review

 

Ray Winstone: Arjan van Diemen is a South African soldier who has moved to New Zealand to start a new life after losing his family. He is an expert tracker that Major Carlysle recruits to find a wanted criminal only to find himself bonding with the native who share a similar enemy in the British. Ray is good in this role that is filled with regret throughout.

Temuera Morrison: Kereama is the native who gets falsely accused of murdering a British solider, having to go on the run he gets tracked down by Arjan but he uses all his tricks to keep his safety on his native land. Temuera is good in this role and works really well of Winstone.

Gareth Reeves: Major Pritchard Carlysle is trying to keep the peace between the two sides after the conflict in New Zealand, when he sees the aftermath of the crime he searches for the man to get an honest answer to the crime. He does come off the most reasonable of all the soldiers in this film. Gareth plays a good honest character but comes off overly genetic.

Mark Mitchinson: Saunders is the drunken soldier that gets into a fight with Kereama leading to him killing the soldier and putting all the blame on Kereama. Mark is solid enough in this supporting role.

Support Cast: Tracker has a small supporting cast with most just being the fellow soldiers searching for the wanted man.

Director Review: Ian SharpIan does a good job directing this getting s beautiful shots of the landscape to let the story unfold within.

 

Action: Tracker is filled with action that is mostly chases and hand to hand combat moments.

Adventure: Tracker throws our character into an adventure where they must adventure across the New Zealand landscape.

Western: Tracker plays out like an old school western.

Settings: Tracker uses the landscape to fully immerse us into the film.
Special Effects
: Tracker has solid effect when needed but never ends up turning to them.

Suggestion: Tracker is one I do think is worth a try but it does have moments of being very slow. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The two leads come off nicely.

Worst Part: Slightly slow.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $6,5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes

Tagline: Never Stop Running!

Trivia: After the first day of pursuit, Arjan van Diemen is in his camp site. He is seen holding his pocket watch in his right hand. From his viewpoint, his fingers point from 6 to 12 on the watch face. viewed from the front, he holds the pocket watch so that his fingers point from 3 to 9 on the clock face.

 

Overall: Solid little action western showcasing the beauty of New Zealand.

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Owen Wilson Weekend – Shanghai Noon (2000)

noonDirector: Tom Dey

Writer: Miles Millar, Alfred Gough (Screenplay)

Starring: Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson, Lucy Liu, Brandon Merrill, Roger Yuan, Xander Berkeley, Jason Connery, Walton Goggins

 

Plot: A Chinese man who travels to the Wild West to rescue a kidnapped princess. After teaming up with a train robber, the unlikely duo takes on a Chinese traitor and his corrupt boss.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Odd Couple Comedy

 

Story: Shanghai Noon starts as we Princess Pei Pei (Liu) not wanting to marrying her father’s choice for her and runs away to America only to become kidnapped, the Emperor sends his selected Imperial Guards to bring her back including Chon Wang (Chan).

On the travels in America Chon Wang finds his Uncle killed by the outlaws led by Roy O’Bannon (Wilson), but when he gets double crossed the two have to form the unlikeliest of partnerships to save Princess Pei Pei and become a hero of the western world.

Shanghai Noon came out at the perfect time when Jackie Chan was first making his impact on the action comedy scene. Changing up the partner from Chris Tucker to Owen Wilson works because we get the wise talker but in a different laid back attitude. The action is what you expect and the historical references work if you understand the western genre. This is a fun watch but does end up coming off slightly longer than it needs to be.

 

Overall: Great odd couple comedy that hits all the marks.

Rating80

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror Franchise – Tremors 4 The Legend Begins (2004)

casting card

 

Plot: A prequel to Tremors (1990), this movie tells us about the founders of Rejection Valley and how they defended it against the dirt dragons AKA graboids.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Nice Twist With Prequel

 

Story: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins starts by taking us back to 1889 Nevada where we find a group of miners being terrorised by the graboids. With danger in the mine the town of Rejection has its future looking bleak with the Chang family Pyong (Lo), Lu Wan (Look) and Fu Yien (Ly) having the future of having to return to China and Christine (Botsford), Juan (Roam) and Tecopa (Schellenberg) left waiting for something to happen. When Hiram Gummer (Gross) the owner of the mine arrives in the town to see what is happening as he could be the only saviour of the town.

When investigating the truth Hiram has to fund a hunting mission against the graboids attacking the town where he fast becomes fond of the small town. The man who comes to help out Black Hand Kelly (Drago) to the rescue the reputation Hiram no longer has.

Tremors 4: The Legend Begins does something I really enjoyed with the original with the side of the story being set in the community fighting to keep their town around. Turning it into a prequel also works because while only brief we do get to see another evolution of the graboids but also an earlier one. Having the Gummer being a complete opposite works to as by the end we learn how his generation would have created him. On the negative it is a western style which while looks good just doesn’t seem to get the same impact as it could.  In the series of films it works well though.

 

Actor Review

 

Michael Gross: Hiram Gummer is the owner of the mine, he turns up in Rejection to find out why the mining has stopped only to learn the truth where he must learn to love the small town while saving it from the graboids. Hiram comes in as a very stuck up man not being used to the western way of life. Michael is good in this role playing an almost opposite to the character we have got to know.

Sara Botsford: Christine is the hotel manager in the town who has to deal with the stuck up attitude while being a welcome host. Sara is solid in this role without doing too much.

Billy Drago: Black Hand Kelly is the hired gun that comes to the town to collect a bounty, he is one of the best shooters in the west with an attitude to go with it. Billy is good in this mysterious role but we don’t see enough of his character.

Brent Roam: Juan Pedilla is one of the few miners that has stayed in town mostly because he has been dreaming of something better. He is always looking for a new hat as he keeps losing his and stands next to Hiram in the battle. Brent is good in this supporting role offering the comic relief when needed.

Support Cast: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins has the supporting cast you have come to know which works on the level the original did with the community coming together to fight.

Director Review: S.S. WilsonS.S. brings the tone of the film back to what the original once had with the sense of community in the town with a western feel to it.

 

Action: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins is filled with the action you have come to expect from the franchise.

Comedy: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins does lose parts of the comedy side of the story but is still light hearted about the horror.

Horror: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins is starting to lose the horror side of the story now.

Western: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins takes the action into a western setting which is used for a couple of laughs and new ways to kill the graboids.

Settings: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins brings us back to the original town with a twist on the time period which I feel does help this film.
Special Effects
: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins has good special effects with most being practical.

Suggestion: Tremors 4: The Legend Begins is one I think the fans of the franchise will enjoy. (Franchise Fans Watch)

 

Best Part: Hiram character.

Worst Part: Isn’t the funniest in the series.

Kill Of The Film: Big Horse Johnson

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: Yes

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $5 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

Tagline: A Revolution Has Begun…

 

Overall: Nice twist by making it a prequel but more of the same really.

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