Kepler’s Dream (2017)

Director: Amy Glazer

Writer: Sylvia Brownrigg, Ann Cummins, Amy Glazer, Vijay Rajan, Sedge Thomson (Screenplay) Juliet Bell (Novel)

Starring: Isabella Blake-Thomas, Sean Patrick Flanery, Holland Taylor, Kelly Lynch, Steven Michael Quezada, Esperanza Fermin, Kelly Hu

 

Plot: Eleven-year-old Ella is a city girl forced to spend the summer on the New Mexico ranch of her reclusive grandmother, Violet Von Stern. while Ella’s mom undergoes chemotherapy in another state. As she tries to cope with her grandmother’s strict rules and snooty friends, Ella longs for her mother and begs her estranged father for rescue. But Ella’s dad has his own reasons to stay away from his childhood home. Meanwhile, Ella finds allies in fatherly ranch hand Miguel and his down-to-earth daughter, Rosie. But when a priceless book is stolen from Violet’s collection, Miguel is the key suspect, and Ella must find the real thief in order to save her friends. Emotional connections are reshaped, and a family that was lost finds its way. The music of Patrick Neil Doyle helps tell this unusual and heartwarming story.


Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming Coming of Age Tale

 

Story: Kepler’s Dream starts as we meet Ella (Blake-Thomas) an 11-year-old girl that lives with her mother Amy (Lynch) who is about to undergo surgery for her leukaemia, which means Ella needs someone to look after her, when her father Walt (Flanery) doesn’t make himself available he sends her to New Mexico to stay with his mother Violet (Taylor), a relative she has never met.

Ella gets a friendly welcome from Miguel (Quezada) and his daughter Rosie (Fermin) who helps out on Violet’s ranch, while Violet is a mystery to Ella, a well-travelled lady who enjoys collecting artefacts from her journeys, but we have no wi-fi here.

As Ella’s time in the house continues she learns about a Kepler’s Dream book, one of only two in the world, but this only shows ore of the strict rules her grandmother has, be it using proper English or not touching anything. It is Miguel that offers her the only positive moments in the summer, teaching her to ride a horse. When he priceless book is stolen the suspects are a very short list and now Ella wants to solve the mystery and save the friendship she has started with Rosie.

 

Thoughts on Kepler’s Dream

 

Characters – Ella is an 11-year-old girl, daughter of divorced parents with her mother battling cancer, her father distant, she must spend her summer with her grandmother who she has never met. This is always going to be hardest summer of her life, but it also offers her new adventure in the world. Violet is the grandmother, she has travelled the world as well as collected books and objects to add to her prized collection. She hasn’t ever met Ella but tries to help even with her stricter rules. Miguel is the ranch hand that helps out, he offers Ella the friendship she requires with his own daughter Rosie as the two bond over the summer. Walt is Ella’s father who always found a reason to be busy and away from his daughter even when she needs him.

PerformancesIsabella Blake-Thomas is our new face and lead in this movie, she is full of the innocence needed for this role. Holland Taylor is great as the strict grandmother who has lived an enjoyable life. The rest of the cast are good through the film showing us the different emotional range needed for what is happening through the film.

StoryThe story does follow the development Ella needs for life, she is going to go through a tough summer that will help define her life. The big case that needs solving though is the weakest part of the film because we don’t dive into it enough. The story does focus on Ella and her experiences, her feelings her difficulties she will be face which is good to watch because it shows how growing up will be painful if they go through the same experiences.

Adventure/Family/MysteryThe adventure side of the film comes Ella experiencing a new location, which is plays into the western themes being used. The this a very family oriented movie even though it does have a small mystery moment going on.

SettingsThe settings are important here, first we have the busy city where Ella is but taken her to a new location where she wouldn’t know or have experienced teaching her more about the bigger world.


Scene of the Movie –
The truth about the book.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would like more about the missing book.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good coming of age film, it will be targeted more for the young girls, with certain decisions being made, the troubles she goes through could apply to either sex though. It does have an important message but has the tagged-on mystery in places.

 

Overall: Good coming of age movie. 

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Halloween Horror – Dead 7 (2016)

Director: Danny Roew

Writer: Sawyer Perry (Screenplay) Nick Carter (Story)

Starring: Nick Carter, Carrie Keagan, Joey Fatone, Jeff Timmons, AJ McLean, Erik-Michael Estrada, Howie Dorough

 

Plot: A post-apocalyptic Western that follows a group of gunslingers as they look to rid a small town of a zombie plague. Starring Nick CarterCarrie KeaganJoey Fatone and A.J. McLean.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Simple, Easy to Watch Horror Comedy

 

Story: Dead 7 starts in a world where the dead have taken over, the mysterious Apocolypta (Wilson) offers survivors two choices, learn the weapons to fight the undead or become one of the undead. In the battle against the good is Apocolypta’s solider Johnny Vermillion (McLean) who leads the undead into terrorising towns but this is about to change.

Looking to stop the reign of terror of Apocolypta are Jack (Carter), Billy (Timmons), Daisy Jane (Keagan), Whiskey Joe (Fatone), The Vaquero (Horough), Komodo (Estrada) and Sirene (Carter) hired by Sheriff Cooper and Mayor Shelby to take her and her men out for good.

 

Thoughts on Dead 7

 

Characters/PerformanceJack is the reluctant hero, Daisy Jane will fight for what she believes in, Whiskey Joe likes his rinks but just as deadly in a fight. Billy is looking to come out of the shadow of his brother with Komodo being a slightly assassin, Vaquero is the deadly shot and Sirene is the mystic guide. They make for our Dead 7 while on the other side of the fence is Apocolypta the evil witch figure controlling the zombies or copperheads and her lead henchman Johnny Vermillion doing anything to impress her.

Performance wise, this isn’t a film for the acting being amazing, it is all about the guys from the bands having a great time making a zombie comedy and they all look like they enjoyed it.

StoryA zombie comedy parody of one of the most iconic films ever made, why not? Ok this does get to give the actors a chance to have a lot of fun, the story is easy to follow, a group of gunslingers must fight for honour to bring down a ruthless leader, each with their own motivations. It is fun and easy to enjoy throughout.

Comedy/Horror/Western The comedy works in places, which mostly makes light of what is going on, with the horror being your standard zombie elements. The western feel does work well through the film too.

SettingsHaving the film set in what is a western world once it had all ended does make us enjoy what is going through the film.

Special EffectsThe special effects are all very low budget and you can tell when they are being used.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those movies you go into knowing it isn’t going to be great and can fully enjoy because of this.

 

Overall: Enjoyable Horror Comedy

Rating

 

 

The Dark Tower (2017)

Director: Nikolaj Arcel

Writer: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel (Screenplay) Stephen King (Novel)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba, Tom Taylor, Dennis Haysbert, Claudia Kim, Jackie Earle Haley

Plot: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Easy to Watch but Forgettable

Story: The Dark Tower starts with Jake (Taylor) a troubled young New York kid who has been suffering from nightmares of a mysterious Man in Black trying to destroy a tower by torturing children. We follow how Jake has suffered his personal loss which most people just see as an excuse for beliefs on the Man in Black and when his mother and step-father try to send him to a hospital for a weekend he escapes after learning about a house that could hold some answers for him.

Entering a forbidden portal Jake finds himself in a new world in search for the last Gunslinger Roland (Elba) who has been hunting the Man in Black Walter (McConaughey) a sorcerer that has been trying to bring down the Dark Tower that holds the universes together. As the adventure unfolds Jake will learn his place in the bigger picture in the universe.

Thoughts on The Dark Tower

Characters – Jake is your normal trouble boy that we need in a style of film like this, he has lost a parent, doesn’t like his step-father, has troubles at school and has been having dreams of a world far away from his reality, as his therapist says his dreams are just a reflection of his reality. He gets to go on the adventure to solve his nightmares but only ends up growing up along the way. Roland is the last Gunslinger that roams the desert in search for Walter who has killed the rest of the Gunslingers. He reluctantly takes Jake on his quest showing his gun skills to hopeful kill his oldest enemy. Walter is the sorcerer that has collecting children from different worlds that can destroy the Dark Tower bring pure evil across all the worlds. He his ruthless side where he kills anyone who gets in his way but for unknown reasons he likes to keep the Gunslinger around to torture him. The rest of the characters only seem to be nameless henchman or villagers that help along the quest.

PerformanceAs for the performances I did want to just watch McConaughey throughout the movie as he is the highlight of the film showing menace even though he is only saying all the cool villainous quotes. Idris Elba does seem to struggle in the leading role but the character of the Gunslinger isn’t developed like he would be able to from the books. Tom Taylor is fine but isn’t taking any awards for best child performance this year.

StoryThe story is an easy to follow as we get the trademark stereotype characters placed into the world, the trouble boy, the evil man in black, the lost hero that all come together for a showdown to save the universe, I feel there is a lot more to be told in this universe which is the biggest disappoint because you can’t get this much information into a 90-minute movie. This is a by the books action fantasy that will be forgotten within a couple of weeks.

Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/WesternThe action is all entertaining but now the most original by any means, the fantasy shows the different worlds but I feel we would have like more from this, the sci-fi sides the different worlds that could be out there but again doesn’t get enough time to come through, while the western just feels like the Gunslinger comes from that genre nothing else.

SettingsNew York and a desert are not normal two settings you would put side by side and in a film that could go anywhere this doesn’t offer enough on the visual settings being used.

Special EffectsCertain moments of the special effects do look very rushed and cheap rather than the high quality you would expect from a movie on Stephen King’s work.

Scene of the Movie – The farm invasion slow motion kill.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – There is too much untold.

Final Thoughts This film doesn’t give the books enough time to tell the epic story, many scenes feel like the best quotes are taking from the books to make the scenes sound cool.

Overall: Disappointing but not awful.

Rating

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.

Ratingcard

 

 

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.

Ratingcard