Franchise Weekend – Anaconda: The Offspring (2008)

Director: Don E FauntLeRoy

Writer: Nicholas Davidoff, David C Olson (Screenplay)

Starring: David Hasselhoff, Crystal Allen, Ryan McCluskey, Patrick Regis, Anthony Green, John Rhys-Davies, Alan O’Silva

 

Plot: A mercenary-for-hire accepts a mission from a billionaire to capture a dangerous snake that could possibly help cure a terminal illness.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: No Amount of Alcohol Can Make This Good

 

Story: Anaconda: The Offspring starts with Hammett (Hasselhoff) with his group of mercenaries telling everyone to sit back and enjoy the ride as his men kill a giant anaconda with very annoying cutting between gun, blood, snake, screaming on a rinse repeat idea.

Now back in America Mr Murdoch (Rhys-Davies) the CEO for Wexel Hall has continued the blood orchid experiments to help cure Murdoch’s cancer, but when questions on the methods of the experiment are getting questioned leading to Murdoch looking into the methods. Amanda Hayes (Allen) is the handler of the snake and security is concerned with the safety in the research lab and she is correct when the anaconda escapes.

To contain this situation an elite group of mercenaries are called in to hunt down the anaconda with Hammett needing to return from his own travels to help with the clean-up operation.

 

Thoughts on Anaconda: The Offspring

 

Characters/PerformanceHammett is the master hunter, he will do anything for money and enjoys hunting down the any animal he faces. Amanda has worked with the snakes for the whole research mission and now she is the only one that knows the true danger the snakes possess, she wants to end the project before it gets out of hand. The rest of the characters are generic soldiers, a millionaire and an officer lackey that don’t do much to the film.

Performance wise, well when you cast the Hoff in the leading role you know you won’t get acting gold, the acting isn’t good from anyone in the film.

StoryGenetical enhanced snakes have escaped and need hunting down to save a millionaire’s life, this seems like an easy formula, well it works on the basic level but ends up just being lost of running around shooting trees, I mean snakes. This does try to build on what the last one created though.

Action/Horror The action is mostly guys running around shooting, while the horror is a giant snake trying to kill people, there isn’t anything scary going on here.

SettingsThe setting is back in America but for budget reason it looks like anyone went down to some local woods and ran around with toy guns.

Special EffectsNope.

Final ThoughtsThis feels like an idea to just use the name Anaconda and go full blown we just don’t care anymore.

 

Overall: Just terrible now.

Rating

 

 

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The Warriors’ Gate (2017)

Director: Matthias Hoene

Writer: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Chao, Ni Ni, Dave Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Uriah Shelton, Francis Ng

 

Plot: A teenager is magically transported to China and learns to convert his video game skills into those of a Kung Fu warrior

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Entertaining Blast

 

Story: The Warriors’ Gate starts as we follow gamer teenager Jack (Shelton) whose single mother Annie (Guillory) is struggling to make ends meet, he is bullied at school but has a Chinese antique shop owner friend that gives him a gift which has passed down through generations of his family.

That gift is a pot which brings out an ancient princess Su Lin (Ni) and Zhoo (Chao), when Su Lin is captured by ancient warriors, Jack is transported to ancient China in search for Su Lin in an adventure with Zhoo to save the princess from Arun (Bautista) and his massive army.

 

Thoughts on The Warriors’ Gate

 

Characters – Jack is the gamer kid, bullied and struggling home life, he is taken to Ancient China where he must learn to fight for himself, stand up for what is right, all to save the princess, while this isn’t the most original character design, it is all that is needed for the leading role. Zhoo is the great warrior that must guide Jack through Ancient China to save Su Lin, his life has been training to be the warrior and this will be his greatest moment. Su Lin in the princess who will become the Empress of China, she loves the new world she enters in America but once captured and returned to Ancient China she is able to be forced to marrying Arun. Arun is the evil ruler that wants to marry Su Lin so he can become Emperor of China. He doesn’t bluff but can be misunderstood by his soldiers. Annie the mother of Jack just trying to give him the best chances in life.

PerformancesUriah Shelton taking the leading role does a good job throughout the film working very well with both Mark Chao and Ni Ni. Mark Chao fills the mentor warrior role to be entertaining and watching the two together is enjoyable. Ni Ni is the entertaining in her role. The big name draw for this film is Dave Bautista who strangely becomes similar to the Chris Pratt role form Guardians of the Galaxy to him needing to explain codes, but does get to enjoy the villainous role.

StoryThe story takes our unsung wimpy teenager that needs to grow up and stand up for himself, to do this he ends up in ancient China where he must learn a new culture to save a princess from evil ruler. While this isn’t the most original concept it does check all the entertainment check points, but the one aspect that is original is having our main character learning moments needed from video games which is why the confusion starts in the first place. If you want an easy to follow story, that is light hearted with plenty of action this is great fun.

Action/Adventure/FantasyThe action through the film is all purely entertaining with the opening bike chase through the town being a big highlight. The adventure side of the film takes Jack in the new world for an adventure of a lifetime. The fantasy world created explains how the different worlds can meet.

SettingsThe two main worlds show the modern world that Jack lives in works well without being new, the ancient China setting follows the generic ideas of what we expect to see.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well through the film, there is one easy to see blue screen moment but otherwise things all click when needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Bike Chase, even though it is early in the film, it shows the level of entertainment we are going to get.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not everything is original.

Chances of Sequel: We could have one.

Final ThoughtsThis is an entertaining film that does check the all the marks needed for a generic action film which entertains from start to finish.

 

Overall: Entertaining action movie.

Rating

 

 

The Contender (2000)

Director: Rod Lurie

Writer: Rod Lurie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliott, William Petersen, Saul Rubinek, Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: Senator Laine Hanson is a contender for US Vice President, but information and disinformation about her past surfaces that threatens to de-rail her confirmation.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Political Thriller

 

Story: The Contender starts as President Jackson Evans (Bridges) is in search for a new Vice-President after the death of the previous one. When senator Jack Hathaway (Petersen) witnesses a car crash but is unsuccessful in rescuing the victim, this eliminates him from the race for the Vice-President role because it will show failure in his character.

President Jackson selects who he wants in Senator Laine Hanson (Allen). It isn’t long before Shelly Runyon (Oldman) the judge of the committee of the confirmation procedure and young upstart Reginald Webster (Slater) to try and expose the secrets of Laine so they can select Hathaway as Vice-President.

As the confirmation committee continue their questioning Laine’s personal life is opened for all to see, leaving her to find herself folding on her own morals or fight back against the people exposing her life’s decisions.

 

Thoughts on The Contender

 

Characters/PerformanceLaine is a senator who gets thrust into the public spotlight as the lead contender to be Vice-President, she has led a life that does have secrets but nothing illegal, she wants to stand by her morals if she is given the role even though she is going to get her past exposed. Shelly is the man trying to plan his own decision on who will be the next Vice-President, he has been planning to get one over the President’s choice.  President Jackson is a strong man, a leader who keeps his cards close to his chest but also knows how to keep the people he is scouting near him to learn their motives. The rest of the characters are all great throughout to work within their roles in how the events will unfold.

Performance wise, Joan Allen is fantastic in the lead role of this movie showing all the integrity needed for a Vice-Presidential candidate. Gary Oldman as always is fantastic in his role that you barely even know it is him. Jeff Bridges even in a supporting role is gripping to see as we do just want to see where his performance will take us. Each and every supporting performance is great through this film and completely worth watching as one of their best.

StoryA story that focuses on the ideas of what would make a good Vice-President, we see how events in their lives are not important to where they are now, we also see how their beliefs shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to making the right decisions for the country. We see how the contenders can go out of their way to make something happen but most importantly we see how they can be honest when it comes to making the right choices.

ThrillerThe film does keep us on edge throughout the story unfolding as we are looking to see what the next secret could be and if it could damage the campaign.

SettingsThe settings all come off how you would expect with the story unfolding, we have the White House, the courtroom and her own personal home where each detail is learnt about.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to political thrillers this is easily one of the best you will see, it is a must watch for the fans of the genre and the heavyweight performances show us this.

 

Overall: Political masterclass of a film.

Rating

 

 

Our Last Tango (2017)

 OUR LAST TANGO will be released in UK cinemas on 22nd September www.ourlasttangofilm.co.uk #OurLastTangoFilm

 

Director: German Kral

Writer: German Kral, Daniel Speck (Screenplay)

 

Plot: The life and love story of Argentina’s famous tango dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes, who met as teenagers and danced together for nearly fifty years until a painful separation tore them apart.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 25 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Dance Documentary

 

Story: Our Last Tango starts with our 80-year-old dancers Maria Nieves Rego and Juan Carlos Copes telling their story of how they met as teenagers and how their styles just clicked, we learn how they were just the perfect match when it came to stage and dancing for 50 years.

We learn how the two did have their difference on and off the stage but did take Tango to a new level for a new audience, we see how their own personal lives affects life decisions which eventually led to the break-up of the dancing partnership.

 

Thoughts on Our Last Tango

 

StoryThe film here shows us the way tango evolved to keep up with more popular or modern dance trends from the 1950s right up to the modern-day times, we learn how the two most iconic dancers from the field went from small venues to bring invited around the world to show off the tango. We do learn the personal effects of the long-term dance partnership on the two stars, we do get to follow this story like the students and journalists interviewing the two icons which helps us relate to the learning process too.

Documentary/MusicWhen you watch a documentary you want to learn about the subject matter, that happens here, while you don’t learn how to tango, that will require lessons, you will learn how it became popular in the modern culture.

Final ThoughtsTango will always be a dance people will talk about, not many can master and this will give you the lessons about the two icons of the dance that helped bring it into the modern world even after their own personal differences.

 

Overall: This is a good watch for documentary fans.

Rating

 

Argentina, Germany 2015
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Runtime: 85 minutes

 

OUR LAST TANGO premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and also screened at Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Japan and the Berlin International Film Festival.

Director German Kral was born in 1968 in Argentina and moved to Germany in 1991 to study film at the Munich Film School. A former pupil of Wim Wenders, between 1993 and 1996 he worked with Wenders on the feature film A Trick of the Light. His film Música Cubana (2004), executive produced by Wim Wenders, had its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival and has been sold all over the world.

 

OUR LAST TANGO Key Production Credits

 

Production Companies: Lailaps Pictures, Horres Film & TV, German Kral Filmproduktion

Screenwriter / Director: German Kral

Producers: Nils Dünker, Dieter Horres, German Kral

Co-producers: Birgit Rothörl, Josef Brandmaier

Executive Producers: Wim Wenders, Rodrigo Furth, Jakob Abrahamsson

Director of Photography: Jo Heim BVK, Félix Monti ADF

Costumes designer: Giselle Peisojovich, Cecilia Belsito

Production designer: Matías Martínez

Sound: Celeste Palma

Sound designer: Jörg Elsner

Music composer: Luis Borda, Sexteto Mayor

Editor: Ulrike Tortora

Cast: María Nieves Rego, Juan Carlos Copes

 

 

About Celluloid Circus and the Argentine Film Festival

 

Celluloid Circus is a film events and promotions company championing the most exciting films from around the world including outstanding Spanish-language films such as Ciro Guerra’s Oscar-nominated Embrace of the Serpent and Damián Szifron’s BAFTA Best Foreign Film winner Wild Tales.

 

In 2012 Celluloid Circus launched London’s first Argentine Film Festival to provide a showcase for the best contemporary films from and about Argentina, and in 2016 celebrated their fifth festival with Argentine director Pablo Trapero in attendance at special summer edition across Curzon and Picturehouse Cinemas in London’s West End.

 

2017 will see Celluloid Circus take a new direction with this, it’s first theatrical release of a Spanish-language title into UK cinemas.

 

 

 

Dig Two Graves (2017)

Director: Hunter Adams

Writer: Hunter Adams, Jeremy Phillips (Screenplay)

Starring: Ted Levine, Samantha Isler, Danny Goldring, Troy Ruptash, Rachael Drummond

 

Plot: After her brother’s tragic death a young girl meets three men who claim they can bring her brother back to life.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Very Slow

 

Story: Dig Two Graves starts as we follow Jake (Isler) and her brother heading to a quarry to take on the big dive into the water, but Jake backs out of jumping and her brother dies, time passes and the family has started to move on but Jake gets a visit from three men led by Wyeth (Ruptash) who offers her a chance to bring her brother back.

Jake’s grandfather Sheriff Waterhouse (Levine) tries to protect her from who visited her but soon she is drawn to learn the truth about whether her brother can be bought back from the dead or not.

 

Thoughts on Dig Two Graves

 

Characters – Jake is like any teenage girl that loses a sibling suddenly, she wants them back which leads her down a dark path with a cult like group offering to return him. Sheriff Waterhouse is the grandfather of Jake, he has a past which has shown him class with the group before and knows not to let Jake near them.

PerformanceTed Levine is the big name in this movie, he does his best to make it work but seeing his character in two ages just doesn’t help us connect with his performance. Samantha does well with what she must work with but the story doesn’t focus on her character enough.

StoryThe story here is very slow, it shows us how people can hold grudges and how people must deal with grief to move on with their lives, we follow two different time periods which spends nearly 50/50 on what is going on between the two way too often, we are also left with not much happening with Jake and a lot of nothing from the Sheriff too.

Horror/MysteryThe mystery horror side of everything dives into the cult like beliefs of being able to bring the dead back but nothing is scary and you don’t get drawn to the mystery.

SettingsThe small town settings is what we know works but in the end it only seems to have a school and a creepy house in.

Special EffectsThe effects are not used much and when they are get used they come off slightly weak.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Mixed time lines is annoying.

Tagline – A young girl’s obsession with her brother’s death leads her on a nightmarish journey where she is faced with a deadly proposition to bring him back.

Final ThoughtsToo much jumping between the times to make a storyline make sense in what would have easily just been a standard horror mystery.

 

Overall: Been here seen that.

Rating