Jungle (2017)

Director: Greg McLean

Writer: Justin Monjo (Screenplay) Yossi Ghinsberg (Book)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Thomas Kretschmann, Alex Russell, Joel Jackson, Lily Sullivan, Joel Jackson

 

Plot: A group of friends join a guide for a trek into the Bolivian jungle, searching for an Indian village. The men soon realize that the jungle is a difficult place to be.


Tagline – Nature Has Only One Law – Survival

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brutal Adventure Story

 

Story: Jungle starts as we follow Israeli young men Yossi Ghinsberg (Radcliffe) as he spends a planned year travelling, finding himself in Bolivia meeting Marcus (Jackson) and Kevin (Russell) two fellow travellers. When they meet guide Karl (Kretschmann) he offers to guide them through the jungle, which the three accept as an experience they couldn’t refuse.

When Marcus becomes injured and unable to walk, the group must find another way out of the jungle, which involve heading down the river on a raft. This causes the group to split up with Karl taking Marcus back by foot, while Yossi and Kevin head off further into the jungle. Once the friends hit some strong rapids, the two becomes separate and now Yossi is alone in the jungle.

 

Thoughts on Jungle

 

Characters – Yossi is the Israeli backpacker that in Bolivia heads off into the jungle with newly found friends, when he gets separated we follow his epic battle to survive the wilderness in the harsh environment where he must learn to survive. Kevin is the American photographer that joins on the adventure through the jungle hoping to get some breath-taking shots, he does get them but does find himself alone once he gets split up from the rest of the group. Karl is the guide that knows he way through the jungle, he takes the injured Marcus back to safety leaving the other two to fend for themselves.

PerformancesDaniel Radcliffe is fantastic in this leading role, he continues to push himself away from the Harry Potter films with another challenging role which pushed to the limits. We have a good supporting cast who all perform well, but they don’t get much time to be anything but good.

StoryThe story follows Yossi incredible story of survival when he got lost in the Bolivian jungle. It starts out as an innocent trip in the jungle, but soon turns into a nightmare, this is based on the book by Yossi, so, well you know how it is going to end, but seeing what he goes through is hellacious to say the least. If you want to see a story of one man’s desperate battle to survive then this one will be for you to enjoy.

Action/AdventureThe action adventure side of the film shows just how much Yossi must do to survive the situation he finds himself in and just what he must do to survive.

SettingsThe film is set in the jungle, which makes perfect sense, we get to see just how real the experience would have been for Yossi, we even get the moments of beauty he was searching for.

Special EffectsWe have a mix of effects here, the practical ones that Radcliffe goes through, but the strange vision sequences don’t seem to click well enough.


Scene of the Movie –
Head Bug.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It needed more in the endurance.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that has a brilliant performance from Radcliffe who goes through a hell of a lot. It does feel slightly long in places though.

 

Overall: Radcliffe Shines.

Rating

 

 

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Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – The Joker (2014)

Director: Greg Francis

Writer: Doug Buchanan, Greg Francis (Screenplay)

Starring: Beau Mirchoff, Ron Perlman, Giancarlo Esposito, Titus Welliver, Michael Eklund, Ron Eldard, Halston Sage

 

Plot: When you become a detective in Warsaw Indiana – you go to Poker Night, where you play against some of the best cops in the business. They tell you stories about their time on the job – their successes and failures. When new Detective Stan Jeter leaves the game, he is caught by a vicious psychopath and locked in a basement. Using the stories he heard at Poker Night, he must match wits against his captor – and save not only himself, but the young girl trapped in the basement with him. Like Seven and Usual Suspect, Poker Night combines thrills and twists and turns that will leave you guessing till the very end.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Complicated Crime Horror

 

Story: The Joker starts as Stan Jeter (Mirchoff) recounts what has happened after a poker night, where the shit hit the fan. The poker game is played between the biggest cops in town, Calabrese (Perlman), Bernard (Esposito), Maxwell (Welliver), Cunningham (Eldard) and Davis (Large). These cops trade stories about their biggest busts as Stan the rookie gets to learn lessons from the other cops.

Stan finds himself being abducted by a masked killer that has two rules, have sex with little girls and kill anyone who gets in the way. As Stan looks to survive his situation he always remembers the stories told by the rest of the cops.

 

Thoughts on The Joker

 

Characters/PerformanceStan Jeter is the rookie cop recently becoming a hero cop, which has gotten him to the high ranking cops poker night to learn their stories. He also must look for his own safety as he finds himself one of the latest victims of a serial killer. Calabrese, Bernard, Maxwell, Cunningham and Davis are the cops telling the stories and are all good characters.

Performance wise, Beau Mirchoff does struggle in this leading role against the bigger named supporting cast but mostly just because his character is stuck in three different stories and times. The rest of the cast does what they need to without being anything special.

StoryThe story here finds us going through plenty of stories as the rookie hears all about veteran cops best stories while needing to fight a serial killer. The problem here is we have too many stories going on as we hope they do all connect by the final act, the way this is told is mostly a mess though.

Action/Crime/HorrorWe have moments of action with the weak fight sequences or chases, this does help with the crime side of the story too and if we had focuses on just one part of it all we could have been sucked in, the horror is mostly about a serial killer do what he wants.

SettingsThe settings are not anything special with random basement or poker game.

Special EffectsThe effects are used well when needed but we don’t end up having too much going on with them.

Final ThoughtsThis is a messy film that just spends too much time trying to get to the interesting part of the story.

 

Overall: Plain crime horror movie.

Rating

 

 

Christmas Movie Weekend – Jingle All the Way (1996)

Director: Brian Levant

Writer: Randy Kornfield (Screenplay)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Phil Hartman, Rita Wilson, Robert Conrad, Martin Mull

 

Plot: A father vows to get his son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas, however, every store is sold out of them, and he must travel all over town and compete with everybody else in order to find one.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly Enjoyable Christmas Movie

 

Story: Jingle All the Way starts as we see how businessman Howard (Schwarzenegger) is constantly letting his son Jamie (Lloyd) down because he works late, after missing his latest karate class Howard knows he needs to make up for everything this Christmas by giving Jamie and Turbo Man doll, but they are sold out everywhere.

Christmas Eve comes and Howard joins the race with other parents including mail man Myron (Sinbad) who becomes a rival in the hunt for Turbo Man action figure which takes them across town in a way to hopefully make up for all the promises he has broken.

 

Thoughts on Jingle All the Way

 

Characters – Howard is a hard-working businessman but this has caused problems with his personal life as he is neglecting his time with his son Jamie. He has once again forgotten to buy Jamie Christmas present and must go on a desperate chase to find one before Christmas but learns along the way he needs to just be there for Jamie. Myron is the mail man that is also after a Turbo Man action figure and becomes involved in a battle with Howard to locate one. Ted is the neighbour of Howard’s family that acts like a better father figure to Jamie because he has learned to take time for his family after his divorce. Jamie is the son that is getting let down by his father, we don’t learn much from him over than the disappointment he feels towards his father.

PerformanceSchwarzenegger does seem to enjoy this role, he gets to poke fun at himself even if he does at times look slightly out of place as a suburban businessman father. Sinbad brings all the comedy to this film and echoes the frustration of all mail men in America. Phil Hartman does a good job in the supporting role which does also get a lot of laughs but usually away from Schwarzenegger.

StoryThe story is watered down to being very simple and does have heart that is needed to tell everything. we have the traditional father that has been letting his kid down that needs to step up and that is the story, one event can change how a child will see his father. This has good heart and Christmas feel good idea as it brings the family together.

Comedy/FamilyThe comedy is in parts slapstick but does also have adult jokes meaning the whole family could get laughs out of different parts of the movie.

SettingsThe settings are used to show the calm family life he could have and the hustle and bustle he faces while trying to get a present in the big city.

Scene of the Movie – The parade.

That Moment That Annoyed Me At times you would have like a natural looking leading man.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable Christmas film that you can relax, get a laugh and just enjoy at Christmas.

 

Overall: Sit back and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Director: Jake Kasdan

Writer: Chris McKenna, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Erik Sommers (Screenplay) Chris Van Allsburg (Book)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas

 

Plot: Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose.


Tagline – The game has evolved.

Runtime: 1 Hour 59 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fun Action Blast

 

Story: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starts as we follow four teenage high school students the geek Spencer (Wolff), the social media diva Bethany (Iseman), the start American football player Fridge (Blain) and the hard-working studier Martha (Turner) who are all sentenced to detention for different reasons. While in detention they find an old video game, an evolved version of Jumanji, to which they all get sucked into.

In the game the students become the characters they selected, Spencer becomes Dr Smolder Bravestone (Johnson), Fridge becomes Moose Finbar (Hart), Bethany becomes Professor Shelly Oberon (Black) and Martha becomes Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan). Each character they are playing as is completely different to their human characters and now they must use their newly found strength to save Jumanji and return home.

 

Thoughts on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

 

Characters – The students first Spencer is a geek, loner who has lost his once friendship with Fridge because of how they went different direction, he does try to help Fridge with his studies and is a video game expert. Fridge is the star American football player of the school, we don’t learn too much about him other than he is struggling with his studies. Bethany is the diva of the school, she is glued to her phone, not caring about anybody else in the world. Martha is a student that is desperate to succeed in her studies, adding unneeded pressure on herself to achieve as much as she can.

The players, Dr Smolder Bravestone is a born adventurer, strong, fast and full of smouldering intensity, this gives Spencer the physical strength he never had against Fridge. Ruby Roundhouse helps turns Martha into a bad ass fighter, this gives Martha a chance to break out of her shell. Professor Shelly Oberon becomes a nightmare for Bethany, an overweight middle-aged man, a true teenage nightmare. Shelly is the only one that can guide them through Jumanji, this gives Bethany a chance to realize there are people outside of her phone. Moose Finbar is a zoologist, that shows Fridge what life is like from the point of view of someone without muscles, this is one of the only weak points in the movie, that is because we haven’t learnt enough about Fridge before hand and now he isn’t on the same learning level the other three are.

PerformancesThe performances of the four in the game are great, Dwayne Johnson continues to show us why we love him as an actor, he can step into any fun role and make it his own. Karen Gillan had to spend time defending her characters wardrobe, but for the character shows that she is one of the action-packed actresses to watch out for. Kevin Hart is entertaining, but he is too different from his human character. Jack Black is the true star of the show here, he gets the best lines and is the best performance of a teenage girl you will see this year.

StoryThe story does play out much like the original only we enter the game because it has evolved into a video game. We have a Breakfast Club feel to why the characters are in detention and needing to learn that however different they may seem on the outside, inside they are similar in many ways. The story does get plenty of escapes too by being a video game, we have built in characters who only have certain responses because of programming over the idea of poorly written characters, we have lots of fun with how it all unfolds with each stage becoming more difficult as they go on.

Action/Adventure/ComedyThe action does feel like a video game which is fine because it entertains throughout, this plans into the adventure through the jungle for our characters. The film is set with a comic tone which likes to poke fun at body-swapping, which does become a fine balance through the film.

SettingsThe high school settings is what we have seen before, but the jungle becomes a character of its own with the beauty of the landscapes out characters will find themselves in.

Special EffectsThe effects are good for the most part, though we do see the green screen moments and CGI animals too often.


Scene of the Movie –
Introduction to Shelly Oberon and the reaction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I do feel that Moose is written for Kevin Hart rather than to be an opposite to Fridge.

Final ThoughtsThis movie is a lot of fun from start to finish, you can forget this is a remake sequel because of the nods to the original, you will find yourself enjoying nearly everything in this fun movie.

 

Overall: Truly fun adventure movie.

Rating

 

 

Jamie Marks is Dead (2014)

Director: Carter Smith

Writer: Carter Smith (Screenplay) Christopher Barzak (Novel)

Starring: Morgan Saylor, Noah Silver, Cameron Monaghan, Brett DelBuono, Fred Tolliver Jr, Ronen Rubinstein, Liv Tyler, Judy Greer

 

Plot: In a wintry small town, the body of a teenager named Jamie Marks is found by the river. Adam, the star of his cross-country team, becomes fascinated with Jamie-a boy nobody really knew or interacted with, except occasionally to bully him. When Jamie’s ghost begins to appear both to Adam and Gracie, the classmate who discovered the body, Adam is caught between two worlds. He has a budding romance with Gracie, but he also feels a deep connection to Jamie, who brings him closer to the world of the undead.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Interesting Drama

 

Story: Jamie Marks is Dead starts with the discovery of Jamie Marks (Silver) body in a riverine in the small town he is from, bullied by most, it is Adam (Monaghan) who looks back at his brief memories of his time with Jamie wanting to pay respect to where he was discovered, where he meets Gracie (Saylor) the girl who found the body.

When Adam becomes friends with Gracie the pair start to get visits from the ghost of Jamie which drives Adam’s interest into what happened to him leading him down the narrow road between life and death as he is left to question his own sexuality and uncover the mystery surrounding Jamie’s death.

 

Thoughts on Jamie Marks is Dead

 

Characters/PerformanceAdam is the star runner at his high school, he keeps to himself without getting involved in being or conducting any bullying. He gets drawn to what happened to one of the victims of the bullying as he hits the awkward age where he must discover his own sexuality. Gracie is the one friend Adam finds himself having, she is also a lonely character that is seeing the ghost of Jamie too but not on the same level as Adam. She does also give the warnings about getting to know the ghost can be. Jamie is the bullied school boy who ends up dead, he returns as a ghost to show Adam a way through life getting him to help solve his murder or the mystery surround his death.

The performance are all good from the main actors, they help unfold the story for us in a way that keeps us interested in seeing where it will go.

StoryThe story does follow on high school student that is trying to figure out who he is, be it in life, he sexuality and his draw towards a recent death in the town. Looking at how it all unfolds we get elements of the ghosts of our past guiding us to the answers that seem easiest rather than the ones we need to see. This is slow moving at time but does keep you full attention to just what will happen.

SettingsThe small town settings is always good for the dramas as it shows how the town can show us just how cruel people can be and how easily the stories can spread.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that is good for what it is telling us, we have a good story, good acting and a meaningful message.

 

Overall: Drama that keeps your attention without being edge of your seat.

Rating