The Jurassic Dead (2018)

Director: Milko Davis, Thomas Martwick

Writer: Milko Davis, Michele Pacitto (Screenplay))

Starring: Matt Block, Cooper Elliott, Ben Johnson, Mia Klosterman, Adam Singer, Ruselis Aumeen Perry, Andy Haman, Raquel Pennington

 

Plot: A cracked scientist aligns with the Axis of Evil to bring down the US of A with EMP blasts, toxic zombification gas and an unleashing of the ultimate undead killing monstrosity — the Z-REX. When a hot-wired militia squad and a crew of college hipsters are thrown together to do something about it, chaotic Predator-Thunder action runs amok.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not As Good as You Would Imagine

 

Story: The Jurassic Dead starts when Dr Borge (Elliott) unleashes his own pathogen that can bring the dead back to life, the five-person military team Duque (Haman), Cuchilla (Pennington), Stick (Perry), Swat (Gonzzalez) and Spivey (Le Page) are being sent to clear out an unground base Dr Borge has occupied.

When they are joined by a group of college students Gunnar (Johnson), Sadie (Klosterman), Cameron (Singer) and Roxanne (Goeke) who become stranded in the desert, the two groups learn that Dr Borge has been working on, a Z-Rex and zombified T-Rex.

 

Thoughts on The Jurassic Dead

 

Characters – Duque is the leader of the military unit, he will go in first against any threat, be it human or dinosaur and show his dominance in combat. He is your cigar chopping, sunglass wearing figure you see in nearly alpha male military leader. The rest of his unit fill the generic figures we have come to know, the loose cannon, the calm one and the weapons expert. On the student side of things we have the dumb jock, the dippy blonde, the stoner geek and the rebellious one, they fill the clichés the way you would expect.

PerformancesThe performances here are not at the highest level, mostly because we have actors just starting out in the business or Andy Haman from bodybuilding and Raquel Pennington from UFC, no one is terrible, but on the other hand no one really stands out as being great in this film, which is fine because it is people fight a dinosaur and zombies.

StoryThe story here follows a military team and a group of students that end up in a secret bunker battling an evil scientist and his undead dinosaur. While this is a story that fills the boxes for what I enjoy watching in the brain off and enjoy movie, it would be fair the story is pretty shallow and doesn’t offer everything it should do. It does feel generic with how the events unfold even if the idea of undead dinosaur is original.

Action/Horror/Sci-FiThe action in the film goes down to plenty of guns shooting at dinosaurs and the big finale. The horror looks at the idea that dinosaurs are looking to eat people and even turn them into zombies. The idea of undead dinosaurs is a sci-fi ABC which works.

SettingsMost of the film takes place in the bunker which keeps the action contained with no escape.

Special EffectsThe effects are mixed, the practical effects are good enough, but when the CGI gets bought in things go downhill.


Scene of the Movie –
The first dinosaur appearance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The CGI moments in the close of the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun easy to watch film, it doesn’t have enough dinosaurs for my liking.

 

Overall: Undead dinosaurs movie fun.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Animation – J – James and the Giant Peach (1996)

Director: Henry Selick

Writer: Karey Kirkpatrick, Jonathan Roberts, Steve Bloom (Screenplay) Roald Dahl (Book)

Starring: Paul Terry, Joanna Lumley (Voice Talents) Simon Callow, Richard Dreyfuss, Jane Leeves, Susan Sarandon

 

Plot: An orphan, who lives with his two cruel aunts, befriends anthropomorphic bugs who live inside a giant peach, and they embark on a journey to New York City.


Tagline – Adventures this big don’t grow on trees.

Runtime: 1 Hour 19 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Magical Family Adventure

 

 

Story: James and the Giant Peach starts young boy James is left orphaned after his parents are killed, he is forced to live with his cruel aunts Spiker (Lumley) and Sponge (Margolyes) who treat him like a slave. When a mysterious old man gives him a bag with magic in he unleashes them by accident to great a giant peach.

The peach becomes a side show for the Aunts leaving James to clean up, until he finds a passage which takes hi into the peach which is know being lived in by a serial bugs Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybird, Spider and Earthworm. The unlikely group head off on an adventure which takes them across the Atlantic to New York City.

 

 

Thoughts on James and the Giant Peach

 

Characters – James is an orphan from a loved family forced to live with evil aunts, he just wants to be a kid and isn’t being allowed to go out and play. His adventure takes him across the Atlantic Ocean to the place he was always due to go with his family New York city. Like a lot of the Roald Dahl books he creates an orphan that is being ill-treated looking for an escape. The different bugs each offer up different parent like advice for James, just what is needed for James in his time of need.

PerformancesPaul Terry is the real James and he is good for a child actor as are the Aunts, most of this film focuses on the voice work which shows the talent of the cast selected.

StoryThe story shows follows one boy and his adventure with bugs to escape the horrible life he has been trapped living. The story enters full levels of fantasy which is great to see, there is no covering up elements of the story, it all happened and everyone sees this. It does feel like it should be the imagination of a traumatised orphan and it should end up being this for the generic following.

Adventure/FamilyThe adventure James goes on is everything a lonely boy would imagine going on. This is a family film because everyone can get a laugh of different moments in the film.

SettingsMost of the film takes place in and on the peach, we see the family dynamic on board the peach, this is the only one of its type even if you can see elements of ‘Up’ in this setting.

AnimationThe animation shown here showed us what we were getting from the director, a unique look at stop-motion.


Scene of the Movie –
Rhino in the sky.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It can be dark at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a magical family adventure from the childhood author Roald Dahl that wrote wonderful books, which changed many lives, this is one that people sometimes forget.

 

Overall: Magical and wonderful movie.

Rating

 

 

Natalie Portman Weekend – Jackie (2016)

jackieDirector: Pablo Larrain

Writer: Noah Oppenheim (Screenplay)

Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E Grant

 

Plot: Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband’s historic legacy.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Great Look Into Jackie Kennedy’s Life

 

Story: Jackie starts one week after the assassination of President John F Kennedy and Jackie (Portman) wants her husband remembered the way she wants, calling on journalist (Crudup) to write an article on what she will do next.

Jackie recounts the intimate accounts of the aftermath of the assassination as Jackie herself must come to terms with her husband’s murder while the country comes to terms with the death of their President. Jackie wants to make sure her husband gets a funeral a leader of state should receive.

 

Thoughts on Jackie

 

StoryWhen you look at American history there is two shocking assassination we have seen of Presidents and JFK was the first world saw, we have seen how people have speculated, remade the event for years to come but we have never looked at Jackie’s part during the event. This is where the story shines because unlike the nation she is experience the death of her husband who was going to make America a country that was moving onto greatness. Looking at the intimate details of what it was like for Jackie after the event was refreshing and enjoyable to see from start to finish because you fully understand every decision she made.

BiographyLooking into this tragic time for Jackie Kennedy was something we have barely seen before as most of the focus is on JFK’s death. looking at how Jackie has to deal with the tragic events is something this film gets so right we can enjoy she just how powerful she was too.

Characters/PerformanceWe have real people being portrayed once again in this film so it is hard to look past the people’s decision making process through the events. Portman is leaps and bounds above the rest of the cast shining through every single scene she is part of, it is when you look past Portman’s performance you get good performances from the rest of the cast that all do great without being considered to be on Portman’s level.

SettingsEach setting used in the film makes us feel like we are part of the chapter of the life of Jackie Kennedy after her husband assassination. We fully believe this is unfolding on front of us as the story continues.

Final ThoughtsThis is an important look at one of the most shocking moments in American history.

 

Overall: I think this will be a film many people will miss but they will miss out on something very important.

Ratingcard

 

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Director: J.A. Bayona

Writer: Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly (Screenplay) Michael Crichton (Characters)

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, Ted Levine, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, DB Wong, Rafe Spall

 

Plot: When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.


Tagline – Life finds a way.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gigantic Disappointment

 

Story: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom starts when the island the dinosaurs lived in Jurassic World is going to be wiped out by the volcano on it, the government are figuring out the morale side of whether to help the dinosaurs or let nature wipe them out once again with the help of Ian Malcolm (Goldblum).

Benjamin Lockwood (Cromwell) a former partner to Richard Hammond wants to rescue the dinosaurs and leave them on a safe island, he brings in Claire (Howard) and Owen (Pratt) to achieve these, with his associate Eli Miles (Spall) running the operation. Things don’t go to plan and it becomes clear that human desires have become the project and creating a new killer dinosaur is what is the most important part of the mission and now Owen and Claire must save the day.

 

Thoughts on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

 

Characters – Claire is now working as a campaigner to save the dinosaurs from there next extinction, she has a small team and the connections to get her voice heard, she must connect with Owen again to complete the mission and do the right thing to make up for her mistakes from the previous film. we see her make difficult decisions, but otherwise she doesn’t have anything standing out about her character. Owen is back, mainly because he is the one that can track down Blue (the raptor), he knows how the survive dinosaurs, using their strengths to help him in difficult decisions, he is your standard hero there to save the day figure though. Ken Wheatley is the hunter sent to bring back the dinosaurs, he doesn’t seem very smart or like he has ever hunted before, he also collects the teeth, sadly this character is rubbish compared to the hunter in Jurassic Park The Lost World, who at least knew this would be a test of his skills. Ian Malcolm, gives a speech, don’t sell us on a movie if that is all her does. Benjamin Lockwood is the man trying to save the dinosaurs, he once worked with Hammond and wants the same for the remaining dinosaurs. Eli Miles runs operations for Lockwood, he has set up the mission to be what he wants it to be. The rest of the characters include the comic relief in Zia and Franklin, mostly misses, the Maisie the annoying kid and Dr Wu returning even though we knew in the last film what his game now is.

PerformancesWell the performances, this should be interesting, Pratt once again shows he needs good material to shine, he doesn’t give us a memorable moment in the film, Howard also struggles to make her character as strong as it should be follow the events of the first film. My score for Goldblum is low because he is only in one scene. Ted Levine looks the part of the clumsy hunter, Rafe Spall does a good enough job in his role, while the big name actors will be getting paid well to move onto their Oscar related movies.

StoryThe story will clearly have the similarities to The Lost World, we know the park has been destroyed the dinosaurs still live and what to do with them next is the question. The reluctant party return to do the right thing only to be betrayed, check and the second half of the film takes place on the main land, check. While I will stand up for the ideas in the story, because we know much like in ‘Alien’ that humans will want to weaponize and profit from anything that can be seen as more dangerous than what they have, it is tried, tested and works.

The idea that nature is destroying the island feels like it could have been a movie on its own, it is the best part of the story and ends with one of the best scenes in the Jurassic franchise. The problems start when you see the thrown in backstory characters, the paths going down man’s obsession with hunting and third act twists that make little impact in the movie.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action should be breath taking, we have an island being destroyed, which we saw in the trailer, the dinosaur moments should be amazing, they are forgettable, sadly the action just fails to feel the tension required. The adventure seems to have been sucked out of the film too, everything on the island felt like it was played out in fast forward skipping the true amazement of what was achieved. The sci-fi side of the story shows the use of dinosaurs and as we have ran out of ideas again, making a newer deadlier one.

SettingsThe have two main settings, the island for the first half of the film which I personally feel could have been the whole film, the second half is centred around the mansion which sucks all the life out of the ideas created.

Special EffectsThe effects for the most part are flawless with the dinosaurs coming to life in the magical way we know.


Scene of the Movie –
The final moment on the island, bought a tear to my eye, such a poetic and beautiful shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The bloody kid.

Final ThoughtsThis was a giant disappointment for me, the two stories feel like they could have been separate films, the characters feel dull and lifeless and by the end you will be asking if you actually want to see more.

 

Overall: Just a let down for me.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Action – J – Jumanji (1995)

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor, Jim Strain (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Robin Williams, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth

 

Plot: When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.


Tagline – Roll the dice and unleash the excitement!

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Family Adventure

 

Story: Jumanji starts when a bullied young Alan Parrish finds a mysterious game called Jumanji he joins Sarah to play the game, he gets sucked into the game where he must wait for someone to rolls a 5 or 8 to release him.

26 years later orphaned children Judy (Dunst) and Peter (Pierce) move into the same house with their Aunt Nora (Neuwirth), the two discover the game and start playing, releasing Alan (Williams) from the game. Realizing there is only one way to fix the problems they have created, they must finish the game and bring Sarah (Hunt) back from her once nightmare.

 

Thoughts on Jumanji

 

Characters – Alan Parrish was a bullied school boy, trapped in the jungle for 26 years, he returns to him home town to finish the game he started. He is the best line of defence against everything that comes out of the game. He does have daddy issues because of how his father felt distant to him, he will learn to be the father figure he wants as the film continues. Sarah was the friend that joined Alan in the game, she has spent years in therapy to learn that it wasn’t real, forced to face the truth and play the game. Judy and Peter are the orphans forced to move town that just so happen to move into the old Parrish house, they have different ways to deal with the grief of losing their parents.

PerformancesRobin Williams was the star of this movie, he was at his peak of family films and gets to have plenty of fun in this role as a character that never grew up. Bonnie Hunt is good as the traumatised character facing her fears. Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce do a good job in the children roles

StoryThe story follows one young man that gets sucked into a board game only to be released as an adult, which will see him need to guide the rest of the players to finish the game. The story plays out like you need an adventure movie, as each enemy becomes deadlier for players and has a large variety of different potential effects. It is easy to follow and does touch on personal problems the characters have, Alan with his father problems, Sarah dealing with what she saw and the children dealing with the grief of losing their own parents.

Action/Adventure/FamilyThe action we see fits in hand in hand with adventure side of the movie as we have chase sequences and battles against the enemies. This does play into the family themes well too which is to see an unlikely family dynamic working together after their own personal problems.

SettingsThe film takes place in New England town, it works for the film because of how the random creatures coming out of the game would never be seen there.

Special EffectsThe effects are the weakest part of the movie because most of them have dated in a bad way.


Scene of the Movie –
Realizing he is becoming his father.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The tasteless gun shop scene.

Final ThoughtsThis is a great fun movie that will keep you entertained from start to finish, it is one that is a must for the fans of the genre and Robin Williams.

 

Overall: Watch and enjoy with the family.

Rating