Cruel Intention (1999)

Director: Roger Kumble

Writer: Roger Kumble (Screenplay) Choderlos de Laclos (Novel)

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Louise Fletcher, Joshua Jackson, Eric Mabius

 

Plot: Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster’s daughter before the start of term.


Tagline – What you can’t have, you can’t resist.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Darkly Delicious

 

Story: Cruel Intentions starts as the elite prep school step siblings Kathryn (Gellar) and Sebastian (Phillippe) are planning their next conquests in making the fellow students or authority figures pay for going against them. Kathryn wants to destroy new student Cecile (Blair) for dating her ex-girlfriend, while Sebastian wants to break the new headmaster’s daughter Annette’s (Witherspoon) belief about waiting for sex before marriage.

We watch how the two navigate their way through the elite to achieve their goals only for Sebastian to start to change from his seductive ways.

 

Thoughts on Cruel Intentions

 

Characters – Kathryn is the two faced elite society girl, two the parents she is the good polite guide for their daughters through the prep school, with her brother and friends she plays people however she wants to get things done, she holds grudges and has power over her step-brother, to help her enjoy seeing people fall. Sebastian has a reputation that has seen him go through the girls at the school, he gets what he wants but is bored of the easy girls that can be pushed around. He sets his sights on the new headmaster’s daughter which will give him a new look on life. Annette is the headmaster’s daughter that has sworn off sex before marriage, she is determined not to let Sebastian take advantage of her and break her code, knowing the truth about his past.

PerformancesSarah Michelle Gellar was known for her bad ass Buffy the Vampire Slayer when this movie came out, this performance broke her typecast and showed that she could do a much darker role. Ryan Phillippe is wonderful in this role, you can see how he plans to get ahead at every step of the way believing his confident character. Reese Witherspoon bought us the innocent character we now know her for, we need her to be strong, she is and that look makes her look the part perfectly. This is easily one of he best cast movies of recent years.

StoryThe story takes us into the elite prep school life where the kids are free enough to be planning their next sexual conquest because money is no longer an issue for them. Seeing how the story plans out is interesting from early on to the finish as the plans between the characters and how the step-siblings manipulate the people in their lives is twisted. The pace of the story is great too, it never feels like it lets up from start to finish. It does however show how stupid rich kids can be because they have never learnt morals.

RomanceThe romance in this film is a complete mix, we get to see how romance can be used just for sex and how it can change people to become better people.

SettingsThe New York setting is perfect for this movie, it shows how the elite school kids can get up to the most pointless behaviour because of boredom and belief they have the power over anyone.


Scene of the Movie –
The fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me These kids never go to school.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful dark romantic thriller, that uses the music perfectly, has brilliant performances and is easily one of the most watchable films out of the late 90s.

 

Overall: Special movie that hasn’t aged a day.

Rating

 

 

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Chris Hemsworth Weekend – Cabin in the Woods (2012) Revisited

Director: Drew Goddard

Writer: Drew Goddard, Joss Whedon (Screenplay)

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker

 

Plot: Five friends go for a break at a remote cabin, where they get more than they bargained for, discovering the truth behind the cabin in the woods.


Tagline – If you hear a strange sound outside… have sex.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Stand Out Horror

 

Story: The Cabin in the Woods starts when five college friends Dana (Connolly), Curt (Hemsworth), Jules (Hutchison), Marty (Kranz) and Holden (Williams) head off for a break in the cabin in the woods, with plenty of booze and laughs.

With the friends starting to act strangely we learn of an operation being run below the cabin, with Sitterson (Jenkins) and Hadley (Whitford) pulling the strings for a much bigger picture, where the teens are selected as sacrifices with the rest of the world getting their plans to suit their cultures.

 

Thoughts on The Cabin in the Woods

 

Characters – When we look at the teenagers, we have Dana who is making up for her own relationship woes with a teacher, being set up with Holden, but downstairs she is classed as the virgin. Curt is dating Jules, he likes his sport especially American Football and is well educated, at the cabin he turns into the jock figure. Jules is the best friend of Dana trying to support her through her problems, she turns into the slut at the cabin. Marty is the stoner, the fifth wheel if you like, he has the funniest lines of the whole movie, best scenes and has found a way to stay immune to the toxics effecting the others, pointing out the horror clichés mistakes. Holden is the friend of Curt’s sent to hook up with Dana, he is a good guy with what he does though, even if we don’t learn that much more about him. This characters are designed to become the stereotypes in the horror genre.

When we look at the people conducting the operations we have the two leaders Sitterson and Hadley who have been doing this for years, Hadley is waiting for a merman which is an on running joke through the film, while Sitterson knows how to fix every single problem. We do have the newest member of the team Truman that questions what is going on with Lin trying to help him understand the situation they are working for. This is all before even showing us the creatures will we be seeing through the film, each one bringing a new level of horror unlike anything we could have imagined.

PerformancesThe stars of the movie are good throughout, Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Jesse Williams and Fran Kranz as the teenagers are great with Connolly and Kranz stepping up to steal the show, you do get an early glimpse of what Hemsworth can do for comedy too. Jenkins and Whitford have excellent chemistry together giving us the dry comedy needed for their side of the film.

StoryThe story here turns what we know from your generic horror movies on its head, we know how the cabin in the woods slasher movies go but turning the story into an idea of human sacrifice in a satirical way does make this stand out from the crowd. The story does play into fan service for horror fans by doing this because it does play into clichés for a purpose, though it does go against clichés too and shows us how certain clichés haven’t transferred into the modern horror era. There are so many details you can talk about here and even the later stages go crazy, you will be hooked watching.

Comedy/HorrorThis is a horror movie, there is no questions, we have so many iconic figures from horror concepts, the comedy does show when it comes to going against the ideas of horror, mostly satirising what we know without parodying it.

SettingsThe film uses two major settings, first we have the cabin with the surroundings we know about, it is used for moments of horror too, the underground facility shows us how the operations are unfolding and how the people operate.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film do look great, with the final 30 minutes uses such large amounts of practical and CGI going on.


Scene of the Movie –
Lift opening.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I didn’t not like anything about this film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a horror movie that plays into the horror clichés to make them noticed, much like what Scream did in the 90s, this took things to the next level and with a final 30 minutes which will leave you jaw dropped.

 

Overall: The modern masterpiece of Horror.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Sci-fi – C – Cube Zero (2004)

Director: Ernie Barbarash

Writer: Ernie Barbarash (Screenplay)

Starring: Zachary Bennett, David Huband, Stephanie Moore, Martin Roach, Terri Hawkes, Richard McMillan

 

Plot: A young man whose job is to watch over the Cube endeavours to rescue an innocent woman trapped in one of its rooms.


Tagline – The first experiment in fear.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Never Hits the Levels It Could

 

Story: Cube Zero starts with the latest of the events going down, we watch engineers Eric (Bennett) and Dodd (Huband) watch over the latest game. Cassandra (Moore) is the latest player to join in as she is joined by others trying to navigate their way through the twisted games.

When Eric learns that Cassandra hasn’t agreed to take part in this experiment, he decides to break the rules to help her escape, risking his own life against the very people that have employed him.

 

Thoughts on Cube Zero

 

Characters – Erik is the former boy genius, he works in the engineering office of the Cube complex, he does start to question just what they are doing and enters the game to stop who he thinks is an innocent victim of the game. Dodd is the senior engineer that is trying to keep Eric in line, he is a company man that will do anything to keep his head down. Cassandra is one of the players in the game, she is one person that Eric doesn’t believe should be in the game, she has been taken and forced into playing the game.

PerformancesThis being the third movie in the series tells us something about the level of performances we will be receiving Zachary Bennett is solid enough in the leading role, with Stephanie Moore being the good leading lady in the game.

StoryThe story here takes us behind the curtains of the games we have seen previously, this does return to the darker levels of the original. The idea the victims are placed into a game of life and death is back, but we look at the outside looking in from the engineers point of view. This does add something to the film because we couldn’t just do another version of the game, it shows just how many people would be involved in the game too. This helps and hinders the movie because we do end up following the players at time but this just takes away the puzzle solving side of the film.

Horror/Mystery/Sci-FiThe horror is good to watch, we have gore filled deaths which the franchise is known for. The mystery of solving how to get out alive is taken away because of us being taken behind the curtain. The sci-fi elements come from the technology behind the game.

SettingsThe film remains inside the enclosed cube rooms with different traps, unlike the previous sequel we return to the dark feeling setting and the officers match this too.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the practical effect kills this movie seems almost flawless, when you look at the CGI moments, you will have to raise an eyebrow at the clear use of the CGI.


Scene of the Movie –
The first kill is gory and memorable.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The game doesn’t feel as original as before.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good chapter in the Cube franchise even if it doesn’t hit the marks it could.

 

Overall: We like the franchise.

Rating

 

 

Cold Skin (2017)

Director: Xavier Gens

Writer: Jesus Olmo, Eron Sheean (Screenplay) Albert Sanchez Pinol (Novel)

Starring: Ray Stevenson, David Oakes, Aura Garrido, John Benfield

 

Plot: A young man who arrives at a remote island finds himself trapped in a battle for his life.


Tagline – How much horror can the heart endure?

Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Strong Isolation Versus Monster Movie

 

Story: Cold Skin starts in 1914 with Friend (Oakes) goes to work on a remote island in a weather station, he only company on this island for the next year should be Gruner (Stevenson) a grumpy lighthouse keeper. This is until the first night when Friend gets visited by sea creatures, planning to defend himself he loses everything, forcing him to move into the lighthouse with Gruner.

Learning the Gruner has kept on of the creatures on the island, Friend starts to communicate with her and naming her Aneris (Garrido), but the onslaught that comes at night is countless numbers of the creatures the two men must work together to fight off, but what is their try reason for targeting this island.

 

Thoughts on Cold Skin

 

Characters – Gruner is the lighthouse keeper on the island, he has been there for a long time (though we don’t get told how long) and just wants to be left alone, he plans his battles against the creatures and knows how to defend himself, he doesn’t like carrying people and is a strict master of Aneris. Friend is the young scientist that has been assigned to the island to record weather, he sees this as a chance to start his life again. He learns the hard where about the creatures and while he will defend himself, he does believe there is more to what the creatures will be searching for. Aneris is the female of the species, she stays on the island with the men calling out for help at night, she doesn’t fight against the men and is treated mostly like a pet to them.

PerformancesRay Stevenson is great in this role, if you ever want someone to play a grumpy figure, you need to never look further than this man. David Oakes is an actor I was unfamiliar with going into this film and he does a good job in this movie. Aura Garrido as the female creature gives us a wonderful body language display.

StoryThe story here follows two men that are in isolation on a remote island, who are under attack from creatures and spend most nights planning their own defence against them. There is a question about what would a scientist do when it comes to meeting a new species, even if there is a deadly side to them too. The story however is reduced to humans versus creatures in overly long battles with both sides knowing what they were fighting for.

Adventure/Horror/Sci-FiThe adventure should be where Friend finds himself going to make what should be his own history. The horror comes from the battle between humans and the creatures who only come at night. While the sci-fi side of the film comes from the idea of a new species being found, unlike anything they human characters would have seen before.

SettingsThe film has the perfect setting for this style of movie, it keeps our characters in complete isolation from the rest of the world, they have no way out of the situation and now we see the weather conditions being just as deadly as the creatures.

Special EffectsThe effects are used very well through the film, most seems practical even with the swarms of the creatures that attack the lighthouse.


Scene of the Movie –
The beach moment.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The battles seem repetitive.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good sci-fi horror that gives us the question of man verses the unknown, something we have seen before, but is such an easy story to be telling.

 

Overall: Good creature feature.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – World Cinema Month – C – Call of Heroes (2016)

callDirector: Benny Chan

Writer: Benny Chan, Doug Wong, Tam Wai-ching, Tim Tong, Chien I-chueh (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Lau, Louis Koo, Eddie Peng, Yuan Quan, Jiang Shu Ying, Wu Jing, Liu Kai-chi, Berg Ng, Sammy hung, Philip Keung, Xing Yu

 

Plot: During the warlords era in China, a village located in rural area called Pucheng fell into dangerous situation when its government allocated all its military force to the front line, the cruel commandant Cao from the enemy troops arrived the village and killed the innocent, the guardians of Pucheng were desperate to fight against Cao for justice and to protect their homeland.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Styled Action

 

Story: Call of Heroes starts in 1914 China with Commandant Cao eyes up the small city of Pucheng after they offer shelter to escaped prisoners of the stone city. Ma Fung (Peng) the outsider arrives in town where Yeung Hak-nan (Lau) is the sheriff who must prepare for the coming of Cho (Koo) who ruthlessly murders residents in the village Hak-nan sentences him to be executed before Cho’s soliders turn up giving the village one day to release or they will slaughter the whole village. Ma Fung and Hak-nan must lead the battle against these soldiers to protect the village.

 

Thoughts on Call of Heroes

 

StoryThe story is one of the styles of film that feels like a western with the incoming army threating to destroy everything a small town stood for which brings together an unlikely group of heroes to fight back, this does everything you expect without going towards anything truly original. This is enjoyable for all the fans of the action westerns out there.

ActionThe action going on through this film is all brilliant choregraphed fight sequences that come off full of wow factor.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are all what you would expect for the style of film, you have the dictator styled villain, the reluctant hero and the proud hero all with the rest coming off just like you would expect them to. The performances are all good and to the level you expect to just enjoy this film.

SettingsEach setting looks like the authentic location for the time of the film which helps with creation of certain action set pieces.

Final ThoughtsIf you want to see a good old fashioned action spectacle then this is for you.

 

Overall: Switch off and enjoy the action unfold.

Rating70