Trainspotting (1996)

trainDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: John Hodge (Screenplay) Irvine Welsh (Novel)

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, Kelly Macdonald, Peter Mullan

 

Plot: Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Drugs Mess Up Lives

 

Story: Trainspotting starts as meet Renton (McGregor) a heroin addict living in Scotland that enjoys the fact that whenever he is high nothing in the world matters. Renton has Spud (Bremner) and Sick Boy (Miller) who join him in the drugs but Tommy (McKidd) and Begbie (Carlyle) along with family telling him he is wasting his life.

Deciding he wants to pack in the drugs Renton goes on his own mission to kick the habit joined by the Sick Boy who can kick it whenever he wants. We see how Renton goes back and forth with his decision to quit as we see how his friend’s fall deeper or even look at new options.

 

Thoughts on Trainspotting

 

StoryThe story of one man’s look for the answers to whether he should quit heroin or not is fascinating because it is how he see what happens in his friend’s lives which can help him make the decision which can save his life. We get some truly shocking glimpses into just how far an addict will go for their next score. We do get the full look at how far the journey is for Renton which will always get compared to Requiem for a Dream for subject matter even though this did come first.

Characters/PerformancesThe characters are all played to what could be called the extremes, we have Renton who is the addict trying to get over his own problems struggling along the way, but it is the fellow characters have their own vices be it the drugs, drink or violence which all gets show through the film. When you look at the performances this is a full cast of impressive performance from start to finish.

SettingsWe have most of the film set in Scotland where we get to see the what can only be described as the poor side of the country and just how they would search for an out of their life.

Final ThoughtsAs I am not the biggest fan of drug related movies I have been avoiding this one for years but with the sequel out this year I went with it. I found it to be everything I thought so I did enjoy the storytelling process and the performances but my personal preference will always lay with Requiem for a Dream.

 

Overall: Brilliant look at how drugs can affect life of one person and the people in it.

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Survivor (2014)

survirovDirector: John Lyde

Writer: John Lyde (Screenplay)

Starring: Danielle Chuchran, Kevin Sorbo, Rocky Myers, Ruby Jones, Melanie Stone, Blake Webb, Abigail Mason, Andrew Dee Jones

 

Plot: During their search for a habitable planet the last living humans crash-land on a barren world, inhabited by bloodthirsty aliens and mysterious post-apocalyptic warriors.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: Survivor starts in 2067 where the Earth has been destroyed and the only trace of humanity is on 7 ships that have all been searching for a new planet, we follow Kate Mitra (Chuchran) born on the ship, trained on the ship and now at 21 years old is ready for the next mission.

When the ship gets a transmission from within a wormhole Captain Hunter (Sorbo) leads a team including Kate, Weston (Webb), Anne (Mason) and Hayley (Stone) to investigate the answers. During the mission the ship takes damage where it crash lands but that is only the beginning of the nightmare as Kate finds herself in the middle of a battle between blood-thirsty aliens and post-apocalyptic warriors as she searches for a way home.

Survivor is a sci-fi adventure film that puts us on a new planet that is filled with an enemy our human characters haven’t met before, yeah you know Planet of the Apes style. Where this films stands away from this is we have one hero in Kate who has to find her crew and rescue before learning the truth about the planet. I will say this is easy to watch and follow but when it comes to something original it falls slightly short. We also fail to develop any characters after Kate with most just being disposable.

 

Actor Review

 

Danielle Chuchran: Kate is one of the team that finds herself crash landed on the alien world, she must use all of her training to stay alive and find a way how. This is a very physical role where we get to see Kate as a warrior. Danielle is the star of this going through all of the physical side of the story.

Kevin Sorbo: Captain Hunter leads the mission as he has been training his crew for years. During the mission he finds himself injured and waiting for Kate to find a way to rescue him and his team. Kevin is solid but most of this film is him sitting around waiting for rescue.

Rocky Myers: Rogan is one of the warriors on the planet who goes against others wishes to help Kate find safety while he tracks down his missing daughter from the aliens. Rocky is good in his role but I don’t think we meet his character until too late in the film.

Ruby Jones: Nidal is the daughter of Rogan who has been kidnapped by the blood thirsty aliens. She becomes the innocent in the danger our characters find themselves in. Ruby is only in the final act and doesn’t get any real time to show off any skills.

Support Cast: Survivor has a supporting cast which are mainly used as disposable characters as we spend most of the film following Kate.

Director Review: John LydeJohn gives us a fun sci-fi that entertains throughout.

 

Action: Survivor has good mix of action with fights, chases and high risk climbing.

Adventure: Survivor puts our characters on the adventure to survive which works for the style the film is shot in.

Sci-Fi: Survivor goes all Planet of the Apes with the sci-fi side of the story being in the future we get to see another looks at the future where Earth has been destroyed.

Settings: Survivor keeps most of the film in a setting which fills like it has been away from technology throughout the whole film.
Special Effects
: Survivor has very basic special effects which you would expect to see in low budget films.

Suggestion: Survivor is one I do think you can sit and watch late night on television. (Late Night TV)

 

Best Part: Danielle Chuchran shines in this role.

Worst Part: Not the most original story.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

Tagline: Alone. Stranded. Deadly

 

Overall: Fun filled action adventure sci-fi film.

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Life (2017)

Director: Daniel Espinosa

Writer: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare

 

Plot: A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form, that caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Scientific Alien

 

Story: Life starts as a team of astronauts Commander Ekaterina (Dihovichnaya), engineer Rory (Reynolds), Doctor David (Gyllenhaal), Pilot Sho (Sanada), Research Leader Hugh (Bakare) and Quarantine enforcer Miranda (Ferguson) are working on collecting samples from Mars.

Collecting a hibernating life form named Calvin that Hugh helps bring back to life, Calvin comes off friendly as it starts to grow but after a mistake in the lab it looks like Calvin has returned to it’s dormant state.

When Hugh finds a way to bring Calvin back once again it takes a turn for the worse as Calvin is deadlier than they could imagine. The crew must fight for survivor once Calvin breaks Quarantine but they must also consider Calvin’s threat to Earth if it ever makes it back.

 

Thoughts on Life

 

Characters/PerformanceDavid is the man who is about break the record spent in space, he is the doctor of the crew and slowly becoming addicted to being in the peace of space. Miranda is the emotionless scientists who must put away feelings to make the correct decision for mankind. Rory is the confident engineer who keeps everything light hearted when he is under pressure and the rest of the crew. The remaining members of the crew are all what you expect to see in this style of film.

Performance wise, Jake is the lead and is good throughout without reaching the levels we know he can even though we do get glimpses, Ferguson is also good continue to grow her reputation. Reynolds is fun throughout his time in the film with the remaining cast all good well.

StoryThe story is interesting because it focuses on the real idea that humans are searching for life from another planet or space in general. The idea of doing any research in space works because it would appear safer. These are the good elements of story the rest is just another way of telling us the Alien story, unknown lifeforce wants to kill everything to survive and the tea must fight to survive. This starts well but turns into everything we have seen before.

Horror/Sci-FiThe horror involved in this film isn’t the most original because we have seen most of it before, but the sci-fi side does start very interesting.

SettingsThe film is set completely in space inside the space station which I do think works well because it shows the quarantine levels the characters must protect Earth.

Special EffectsThe special effects are fine with the creature looking good in moments but other times you can see the CGI.

Final ThoughtsWhile I do think this will be better than Alien: Covenant and I liked the scientific side of the film but in the end we have seen it all before.

 

Overall: Solid but nothing special in the sci-fi genre.

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Franchise Weekend – Ripley’s Game (2002)

ripleyDirector: Liliana Cavani

Writer: Charles McKeown, Liliana Cavani (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: John Malkovich, Dougray Scott, Lena Headey, Ray Winstone, Chiara Caselli

 

Plot: Tom Ripley persuades a man to commit a murder for a large sum of money. The situation goes out of control, and that man must escape trouble.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Disappointing Sequel

 

Story: Ripley’s Game starts as we see an older Tom Ripley (Malkovich) trying to make a deal that his partner on this case Reeves (Winstone) has ruined the full amount on. 3 years later Tom is back in Italy in his mansion.

Trying to live a quiet life Ripley’s old partner is back Reeves wants Ripley to help him with a problem back in Germany with Ripley looks at his neighbour Jonathan Trevanny (Scott) to do the dirty deed as a final attempt to help Jonathan financial future with his sickness.

When Jonathan does the job, he has to deal with the consequences that has Reeves continue to contact him to do other jobs for him but has he found himself in the middle of a deadly game that only Tom can save him from.

 

Thoughts on Ripley’s Game

 

StoryThis is a follow up to the 1999 film taking place years after the events in that film. Ripley is in full control of his abilities now and his ability to complete any job required. The problem I have with the story this time is that it feels like a heist film gone wrong rather than a smart slick con-artist film. I just don’t think this film clicked on the levels of the first film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime side of the story does in fact feel bigger throughout this film it just doesn’t balance with the thrilling side of the story leaving the crime elements feeling average because Ripley is designed to be slick with his actions.

Characters/PerformanceMalkovich is always an interesting performer and his grabs this role and makes it his own but when it comes to both the performance of Scott and Winstone they feel out of place to the world created making it hard to be pulled into the world we are watching this time around.

SettingsThe first film captured the background if Italy perfectly this time around everything just feels slightly messy with not a single scene being iconic when it comes to seeing what we do with the character’s decisions.

Final ThoughtsThis is really a sub-par sequel that never reaches the heights of the Talented Mr Ripley.

 

Overall: Heads in the wrong direction for what the film had created.

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Franchise Weekend – The Talent Mr Ripley (1999)

talentedDirector: Anthony Minghella

Writer: Anthony Minghella (Screenplay) Patricia Highsmith (Novel)

Starring: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Davenport, James Rebhorn. Philip Baker Hall

 

Plot: In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Thriller

 

Story: The Talented Mr Ripley starts as we meet Tom Ripley (Damon) living in New York who has been teaching himself music while getting by without people noticing him. When he meets million Herbert Greenleaf (Rebhorn) he sees potential in Tom and sends him to Italy to bring his playboy son Dickie (Law) back home.

Arriving in Italy Tom introduces himself to locals as Dickie before putting himself into Dickie’s and Marge Sherwood’s (Paltrow) life as he befriends him explaining how he got asked to travel to Italy to bring Dickie home.

The three enjoy a holiday through Italy as Tom studies Dickie he strengths, weakness and tendencies. After falling out of favour with Dickie, Tom kills him and decides to cover it up with Marge while becoming Dickie to the rest of the world but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on The Talented Mr Ripley

 

StoryThe con-artist film focuses on how one man who has been using his skills to keep his appearance up. The film is slow moving with a well over 2 hour run time but this just helps with the development of the story. Everything plays out that the rich have too much money for their own good making sure they stay above anybody else while Tom goes out his way to become one of them. The story is told brilliantly as we come to understand Ripley’s decision making process through the film.

Crime/ThrillerThe crime going on is always being covered up by Ripley as we are being kept on edge waiting to see what will happen next throughout the film. We get kept on edge as the suspense works almost perfectly through the film.

Characters/PerformanceMatt Damon shines in this leading role as Mr Ripley becomes one of the most fascinating characters from the 90s. Paltrow and Law give brilliant performances in supporting roles while the ever-impressive cast of Blanchett, Hoffman, Rebhorn and Davenport all give excellent performance too.

SettingsItaly makes for a stunning backdrop for the film as we see the lifestyle Tom could only have dreamed of living but soon starts taking part in.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the most fascinating films of the 90’s which is full of powerhouse performance from one of the most impressive cast in film.

 

Overall: Truly interesting film that grabs your attention from start to finish.

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